Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teachers and parents: Better communication

Normally a teacher and parent get together to discuss the shortcomings of the student. Sometimes this only occurs during parent-teacher conferences. But this is not effective, especially if it is a one time shot and is the first time.

Teachers need to communicate all the time with parents. Be it phone calls, emails, meetings, and other forms. Yes, it is easier to meet with parents of younger grades, as many of them pick up their child. This is daily golden opportunity to meet the parents. Older grades, a phone call or email is probably the only way. You never want to meet a parent for the first time when talking about how lousy their child is. Make a point to communicate to all parents, all the time.

Teachers also need to keep good records. They need evidence of student failures or needs. Parents do not like being blind-sided, so be sure and communicate this often as above. If you have no proof, except perhaps a gradebook, you will not get your point across as well as having student work to show. If you hand papers back, you can make copies. If turning in assignments is a problem, remember, a gradebook does not show the sequence. Contacting parents when the work is missing is the best way. It only takes a few minutes to call parents or email. If your school has online records, see if parents can access it.

Try and always be positive when contacting parents. You need to turn the negative meeting or communication into a positive. If the first time you contact a parent is to complain, you are going to be looked at as ineffective. Stay in contact with parents! The positive outlook will have a better effect on parents than being negative.

Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times in parent communication.

Listen to the parents and actually pay attention to what they are saying. Be a team player, How can WE solve the problem?

>>Ways to get parents involved.

>>Electric heated socks make great gifts!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Things teachers should avoid

Being a teacher is one of the greatest jobs in the world. But there are some mistakes that can kill a career and certainly your effectiveness as a teacher. Avoid these and you will strengthen your teaching.

Getting burned out. You have heard of the five year wall. Many teachers quit before or on their fifth year. They have worked too hard. You have got to avoid this. Read some tips on teacher stress and burnout here.

Not asking for help. Ask for help as soon as you need it! Your fellow teachers are the best resource you can get. Most will bend over backwards to help. But you have to ask! Start with the teacher next door. Read more tips on getting teaching help here.

Not contacting parents. Parents are your first line of defense. You need to build a relationship with them. Never contact a parent for the first time when compaining about a student.

No organization. Teachers, organization is job one. It will also lower your stress. Your classroom management will help with this.

Being afraid to discipline. You are not the students friend in the real sense. Don't become buddies with students. You are a teacher. Your discipline is part of the learning process. If you do not discipline the right way, you will fail. Read tips on classroom discipline here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lesson Plan and Classroom Principles

Lesson planning can take several forms. All teachers have heard them. Get the lesson started with some gimmick, model, individual practice, then assess. However, there are nuances to teaching that one should incorporate in all aspects of your classroom interaction with students.

First thing is time. Your time management as a teacher is crucial. You need estimate the time you need and the time the students need to complete the task at hand. It is actually worse to run out of time than have time left over. Never cut your classroom learning time short.

Your lessons must get students to actively be involved. Your students must be engaged. Yes, some stuff will be boring, but keep your students engaged and interested during most times. Shoot for 100% student engagement and active learners.

Assessment is vital. The sooner the better. You need feedback ASAP. A teacher that knows when their students are "getting it" and when they are not is imperative to a successful classroom. Ask questions. Wander around the room. Interact with students. Allow them to interact together. Use all ways of determining and assuring student achievement.

If you can, instill some teamwork in your class. Not everything needs to be done alone. Your students can be some of the best teachers. Allow students to interact with each other and you often.

If all of your lesson plans have all of the above, your teaching is on the right track!

>> How to engage students.

>> Create a positive classroom.

>> Best teacher books.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Teachers: De-stress over the Holiday Break!

 Teachers, you have made it this far in the year. Are you ready for a nice break? You betcha! But teachers should use their breaks to regroup and de-stress. If there is anything you would like to change in your classroom, starting things in January is a good idea!

Teachers can make some New Year's resolutions of their own. Get your classroom discipline and classroom management in order. Think about what has worked. Think about what has not worked. Be determined to make a good change in your teaching style and results. You can make your students start new also. The time for teacher reflection is during this long break. Use it to your advantage to make things go smoother the rest of the year. There is a long way to go! If you are a new teacher, read some new teacher tips here.

Teacher Stress!
Yes, teaching is stressful! You need to take some time off and relax. The holiday break is the perfect time. But it can also be a bad time. You will be busy with shopping, parties, families, among other things. You have got to set aside some time for yourself to de-stress! A good time is shortly after Christmas. Once all the family and holiday stuff is done, relax! One big secret to teaching is that teachers NEED breaks! Don't overdo anything. You will not go back to your classroom in decent shape if you do. You need to regroup and recharge. You have a long rest of the school year ahead of you. Take advantages of school breaks! Read teacher stress tips here.

Humor can work wonders to lessen your stress. Read The Truth About Teachers for a little chuckle.

>>Top educational toys and games.

>>Best teacher books.

>>Online college degrees.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, November 29, 2010

Teaching Tip: Passing back papers

Teachers are always pressed for time. The teaching hour can go by so quickly. The more your classroom management is down, especially for time consuming tasks like collecting papers and passing them back. If that is you, here is a few tips on paper collecting, passing back, and even distributing materials.

Collecting student work
You could put a box near the front classroom door with an "IN" box where students drop off papers as they walk in. If you have more than one class, us a box for each class. A standup folder works well, too. If you wish, you can have just one box and empty it while the students are working or in between classes.

If you need to collect an in-class assignment, you should be teaching or bridging to the next task while students pass their papers in. It is better to have students pass papers up, then to the left or right. That way, they all end up at the same place. You won't have to walk around to collect them. If your room is set up in such a fashion, the student that sits nearest your desk could just put all papers on it. You may be able to come up with variations of your own that work well. You never want to waste classtime waiting, doing nothing, while papers are passed in.

You could reverse the collection process. Students hold their papers and put them in the "IN" box on their way out.

Passing out classroom materials
Again, never waste class time while passing out material to your students like worksheets. There should be a bridge activity, even an oral one. A good way to pass out paper or handouts is to give them to no more than 2 students and let them pass them out. An alternate way is to give half to the row on the right, and half to the row on the left, and each student takes one and passes the rest on. It is time consuming for you to count.

Passing back completed student work
This can be time consuming. Passing back 30 papers to the right students can be tricky. You should have a sponge activity to start class, about 5 minutes. You should readily be able to pass back all papers within that time. Of course knowing the student's names helps! Learn them fast.

An alternative way is to do something similar as passing out material. Give half the pile to each side of the room, students grab their own papers. Do this during the sponge activity as well.

You can choose to pass back papers at the end. No reason to not end about 4 minutes early or so and pass them back. The last couple of minutes can be a little chaotic as the students are getting ready to leave.

You certainly want to think of these things before the situation arises. Simple tasks like these can be a chore and time consuming if not done right. Read more classroom management tricks by going here.

>>Teaching strategy for asking oral questions.

>>Using homework effectively.

>>Best teacher books.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Teachers, Diversity, and Boys

Diversity has long been a buzz word in education. Somehow, teachers and schools need to change everything and anything for each student on an individual basis.

Don't swallow the hype. Good teaching is good teaching. There is no need to change your good teaching techniques just because some college professor thinks you should. Be wary of so-called education research. Nothing beats the experience of a real world, in the classroom teacher. See the links below this article for tips on dealing with that.

On NPR yesterday, they did a whole story on how we do not allow boys to be boys. That somehow boys learn so differently that we are doing them an injustice. Again, don't fall for the hype. They say teachers need to give boys hands-on activities and keep them moving. If not, then we are forcing boys to act unnatural and being very unfair. And this unfairness leads to boys just not learning. One commentator even suggested that boys should always have something tactile to do in any learning situation. Again, don't fall for such hogwash.

Not only is that impractical for teachers, it's also silly when you think about it. It also makes boys seem like animals that need to be appeased. We do our boys (and girls) a disservice when implementing such nonsense.

If we toss up our hands and say, well, boys just can't sit still, we are sending them the wrong message.

They can't go to medical school, be lawyers, engineers, nurses, etc. How can they sit in boring college classes? People don't realize that college classes for the most part are an hour of lecture. Can you imagine a lawyer fiddling, pacing during a trial?

How funny it is we expect (and see) boys behaving in movie theaters in a two hour movie. Can you imagine if the theater allowed playing, fiddling, pacing? How about an airline flight? Don't put your boy on an airplane. They can't take it. Would you tolerate your male children not behaving for at least an hour on a car trip?

Forget about taking your boys to church. Our churches just didn't get the memo about boys.

Every aspect of life, people are expected to behave themselves and many times be still, patient.

Why should your classroom be any different?

Boys could never get a real job. Most jobs require you to work steadily for at least 2 to 4 hours without a break. Pity boys just can't handle that.

Teachers, when dealing with the "latest" research, remember it is research. Not real world teaching.

Don't give wrong messages to your students. They are catered to in classrooms, then expected to survive in a world that is diametrically opposed to such "research."

If you are not using good teaching techniques, then you do need to change.
>Read tips on dealing with diversity in the classroom.
>Read tips on teaching to engage your students.
>Read details of a teaching strategy to ask oral questions.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Teaching Tips


Here is a few quick teaching tips.

Vary the way you teach. Don't just lecture or do one thing. Your students will get in a rut and be bored. Bored students don't learn. Get them involved with discussion or hands on activities. When you do lecture, walk around the room. Surprise your students each day with something new.

Be a fair teacher. Treat everyone the same. Make your rules stick, but maintain your options. A fair, but firm teacher is treated with more respect.

Try teaching one day without a book, students taking notes, or collecting anything. Your students will love it, and you will get a break from grading. You can give points that day by attendance. Have one day a week where students do not need to bring a book to class. You will be surprised at how much students can actually learn this way. Plus, they'll enjoy it.

Dress as if you were a professional. Actually, teachers ARE professionals! You should dress and act like one. Use casual appropriate dress if warranted.

>>Teaching strategy for oral questions.

>>Home loans for teachers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easier grading with rubrics

Anything that can make grading papers more efficient can lessen the stress level for teachers. Grading can be tedious process. Think rubrics! Rubrics are a list of items with points assigned for each one. Each part contributes points to the overall grade. On things like essays, projects, and portfolios, a rubric makes the grading much smoother.

How to make a rubric
You need to come up with a list of things that a student will need to have done to make their paper or project complete. Keep it to a few items, no more than 6 to 7. Write them all down.

You will now try and assign points for each part, with the total being a good number like 100. 100 makes percentages easy to calculate. It helps to write the list in some order. Either from the most important to the least, or the reverse. I like to go from the least important (or lowest points) to the most important.

Then a teacher simply has to decide how many points for each section. Keep an eye on the total up to 100. It may take a few tweaks to get the points distributed just right.

There you have it. An easy way to decide on points and a final grade. It is always a good idea to pass a copy of this rubric out to students so that they know exactly what is expected.

What makes a rubric a good way to grade is this. Let's say you assign an essay or project with no rubric. What determines and A? It becomes more of a judgment call on your part, leaving much to your feelings. That does not always give students a chance to pass. With a rubric, you lessen the student's stress by showing that all students can at least get a passing grade.

Here is a sample rubric for a report.

Title page, your name-5 points
Table of contents-5 points
Minimum 7 pages-5 points
Introduction paragraph-10 points
At least 2 illustrations-10points
Concluding summary paragraph-10 points
Reference page, at least 5 references-10points
Referenced all important points-10 points
Grammar, spelling, coherence-35
____________________________ 100 points total

Please note it is just a sample. The last points, the grammar, spelling, and coherence can be further broken down if you wish. Notice how the points add up to 65 before even reading the whole essay. This gives all students a chance to get a passing grade on the assignment. That is always beneficial to your students. It also cuts down on the students who always do an over-the-top job. You don't want those students to always be the ones to get A's. A rubric will make you a fairer grading teacher.

>Home Loans for Teachers

>How to be a Teacher and Find a Teaching Job

>Baby and new mom resources and tips!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Classroom Rules: Be a Positive Teacher

When teachers think of classroom discipline, the first thing that comes to mind is a list of rules and punishments. Nothing could be further from what classroom discipline really is. We always tell teachers not to have classroom rules. The reason is simple. You cannot list enough. Your students will break the ones not listed and tell you so. They will bend the rules. On both accounts, how will you handle it? The answer is, you can't. Every student in your class knows how to act. On campus and in class. That's really the only rule you need: Follow all schoolwide rules.

However, teachers are not content with that. They think they need to post a list of many rules so students see them. Although that's not a good idea, we do know where they're coming from. It's a hard concept to have basically what is a "ruleless" class. Over time, as you mature as a teacher, you will feel the need for rules to be greatly decreased. Your students will know your classroom is a place for learning, not goofing off.

For those teachers who have not crossed that bridge, we offer a few simple rule tips. The buzzword: positive.

Don't have any rules that are can be open to interpretation. Do not have rules that you cannot or will not enforce.

How about these as a start:

1. Come to class prepared and ready to work.
2. Respect others.
3. Follow all schoolwide rules and procedures.
4. Enjoy the learning process!

That's it! Number 4 is just a positive option. Change it to your liking, or leave it off. Your choice.

You do not have to list consequences. You do not have to list punishments. You do not have to list a bunch of do's and don'ts. You can't list all the don'ts.

Your rules should have a "do" quality, not a don't. Your students know the don'ts. Don't dwell on them.

The less rules you have in your classroom, the less stress you will have enforcing them.

In fact, you should NEVER have to enforce a rule anyway!

>Home Loans for Teachers

>How to be a Teacher and Find a Teaching Job

>Baby, New Mother, and Breastfeeding Resources

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Taking Attendance Tips

Attendance is something every teacher must do. Probably you need to do this first and foremost to start the day or class. Taking too much time or not doing it accurately will only cause problems. Teachers need a system to do it quick, accurately, and without causing any loss of teaching time. There are various ways this can be done. Some take longer.

Before taking attendance, teachers need to have an activity that students start doing immediately after the bell rings. Put a short assignment on the board. Click here: to read more classroom management techniques.

Calling students' names out loud is one common way. But it does take more time than other techniques. After a while, you will get it done quicker, but it can still be a hassle. Always call names while students are working on something. If you call names and they are just sitting there, you are wasting time.

Having assigned seating makes attendance quick. Lower grades most always have assigned seating. No problem. Upper grades can have students switch around depending on their mood or when they enter the class. But, most often even these students like to sit in the same place. During the first week, tell students you are going to make a seating chart in week two. That way, they can scramble around to find where they like sitting. Of course talkers may need to be moved. Once you have a seating chart, only a quick glance will show you who is not here.

For smaller grades, you can have a wall pocket chart with the students name. When they enter, they grab their name and put it on their desk. A quick glance will show which students did not grab their names. Good idea to put a homework box near the chart for quick drop off as well. If you do circle time or rug activity in your class first, this is the best technique. Students grab their names, put homework in box, then put their stuff on or in their desks. Then move to the rug.

Of course all attendance techniques must be time modified depending on how the school does the paper work. You should keep dual attendance records. That is, you fill out the official forms, but also mark it in your grade book. Some districts will give a printout the next day as to who was absent.

Taking attendance quick and accurately is a first step in classroom management.

>>Dealing with confrontational students.

>>Classroom bathroom policy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teachers and students bathroom breaks

Restroom passes, breaks, and policies for teachers is always a touchy subject. It should not be. Almost every class period is geared for a length of time that a child can wait between bathroom/restroom breaks. However, there are teachers that like to be more lenient, others stern. Some teachers don't care. The best position that teachers should take is somewhere in the middle.

First and foremost, let's state that all emergencies should be handled directly. Let a student go. All teachers should be able to recognize a real emergency, and even if the student is faking, best to err on the side of caution. Of course at higher grades, the abuse factor is there. If the students know you are fair and firm, you will have no abuses to worry about. In fact, that's the key to a good bathroom pass policy.

If a teacher does not make it an issue, the bathroom issue will never be a problem. If your students see you as fair and admirable teacher, you will have no problems. The problems are mainly caused by students wanting to press your buttons. If you have built a relationship with your students, this melts away. In fact, it melts away a lot of discipline problems. Bathroom pass abuse is a discipline problem.

For teachers that would rather have tips on bathroom use, here we go.

Never let more than one student out of the room at a time. If it's a young grade, like first grade, you may make an exception.

Let's stop here. Most of the bathroom pass tips here are for older students, say 3rd grade on up. You will have to recognize the need for younger student not being able to hold it. Stress going during lunch and recess. Remind them to go as they walk out the door.

Put a time limit on it. Just pick a time 3-4 minutes is fine. No exceptions.

Nobody can ask for a bathroom pass during the first 20 minutes of class. Guess what? This tells the students you will let them go, so no confrontations. It also means that virtually all students can make it way past 20 minutes, so...? The number of students asking will be rare.

If you make it an issue and take a "no bathroom" attitude, your students will fight it.

If you are in the middle of a lesson,say,"No, but ask me in 5 minutes." Most of the time they will forget. If it's real, they'll remember.

You may allow each student one bathroom pass a quarter. That way, they know they can go if they really need to.

Always keep track of students who are gone. If something happens, you need to know where students are and who is missing.

You can also choose days. No bathroom passes on Mondays or Fridays.

The more you don't make it an issue, the better. The more your students know they can go if they really need to, the better. Those two things alone will almost make your bathroom problems disappear.

It is all part of your classroom discipline and classroom management.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Student Teacher Tips

Make sure that you read all the material given you pertaining to student teaching. You need to be aware and do everything that is required. The school you are assigned to may also have some rules. Follow them. Be determined to not just be a student teacher. Be an excellent student teacher.

Student teaching is really a job. Take it seriously. How you dress should be professional. How you act should be professional. Be observant of your teacher. Student teaching is a golden opportunity to hone your teaching skills and learn new ones.

Your lead teacher's opinion matters. Be a good listener. Offer your opinion in a professional way. And yes, you should offer some opinions. Remember that you are not a regular member of the staff. Interact with other staff members, but do not get involved in anything that may be controversial, like teacher lounge gossip. You are there to become a teacher.

Cooperation is the key to winning the student teaching game. Be expected to go the extra mile. You will probably have to get to school early, and not leave until late. Always be in a cheerful, helpful, listening mood. You want to be the best student teacher the school has ever seen. This is a good way to get a foot in the employment door. Principals will take notice.

If you know you are going to be a doing a fantastic lesson, invite the principal to observe you if you can. Get to know the principal. It never hurts to ask for a letter of recommendation. If they don't see you, they can't know how great you are.

Even though you are not part of the staff, you should participate in all school activities. Like assemblies, staff meetings, even evening programs. You want to be seen as a team player and a supporter of students and staff.

Wow your lead teacher. Strive to go above their expectations. Be well organized. Gather any materials, copies, and resources well in advance. Show up at school well prepared. You can never go over things enough. Better to check and recheck your work than miss something in the middle of a lesson.

Don't be confrontational with your lead teacher. You will probably see some things you don't like. But remember, it's not your class or school. Be friendly when giving your opinions. Expect a little unfairness or what you seem is not right. Do not argue with the lead teacher. Don't complain to the principal about the teacher. Always discuss your concern first with the lead teacher. Don't sweat the small stuff. Teaching can be hard and tiring. If you really have a major problem, and cannot contain yourself, always talk to the person in charge of student teaching. This is probably a faculty member of your college or university.

Remember, student teaching is for listening and learning. Make the best of it and it could lead to a teaching job!

>> How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.

>> Tips for new teachers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Classroom Discipline

Classroom discipline is what kills a lot of teachers. Or at least a good implementation.

It is the middle of the term now, and school is well underway. How is your classroom discipline going? Are your classes under control? Are students actively learning with few or no disruptions? If so, you are good to go! It was probably a lot of hard work. If your classroom still needs work, there are some tips below.

It is difficult for a teacher to start a new discipline plan in the middle of a term. You may have to just wait it out, and start fresh after Christmas break. That is doable, but it means struggling until then.

There are a couple of things you can do to help get the classroom discipline get going. First and foremost, your classroom management MUST be in place. This is where to look first. Your classroom must run like clockwork, and be a repetitive system that students know. Sounds boring, but it's not. The more your students are in a routine, the better for the teacher. Visit our classroom management page for tips.

The first classroom discipline tip is to keep students busy. A student that is busy, is a student that is not acting out.

Also, don't go for a quite as church classroom. Most of the time this is not needed. Teachers somehow equate a quiet classroom with a disciplined classroom. It's not. It's just a quiet classroom with little going on. You want your students engaged. Engage your students, your discipline problems melt away. Read our student engagement page.

You must also be interacting with your students. Too many teachers pass out a worksheet, then yell at the class to keep working quietly. Don't do that. Instead of a worksheet, wander around the room. Ask questions. Get answers. Let your students help with the teaching. You don't have to collect work or homework everyday. You can grade by participation. Less paper work for you is less stress.

There are two big tips for classroom discipline.

1)Don't sweat the small stuff. Not every student behavior needs a detention or calling out. Don't escalate small things. 99% of all behavior problems are indeed small. Don't ignore them, but don't escalate them. A lot of students are looking for a fight. They relish escalating it. Don't let them.

2)Call home. Most parents will step in. But don't call home to complain first. You must build a relationship with parents BEFORE calling home. In fact, if you call all parents on a regular basis, your students will know that there parents are involved. This alone lowers behavior problems. Start out each new term by calling all parents. It does not take as long as you think. One to two minutes a parent is fine, just to make contact. The time you put in on this is time you will not have to deal with discipline problems.

>>Be sure and visit our Classroom Discipline Tips Page.

>>Home Loans for Teachers.

>>Emergency backup power supply with a power generator.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Teachers and Insurance

When it comes to insurance, teachers are in some unique situations. Are you part of a union? Chances are they have fought for some great medical insurance benefits. Learn how to use them to the fullest. Talk to your human resources representative, or sometimes called personnel. Many times they give you options. Most school districts pay your premiums in full, so nothing out of your paycheck. But you do need to check and see if they offer different coverage plans. Each person's situation is unique and what is best for one is not best for another. Look at the options especially if you have a family. What dependents are covered? When can you add them? Many times you can only add new dependents during certain times of the year. Different coverages have different co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses. If you are a new hiree, you really need to get as much information to make a wise choice. Ask for all pamphlets available.

Other coverage such as dental and vision are another case. Sometimes they are included in the medical, many times they are not. Certainly if you have kids you will want to look at what is offered. Be aware that most dental and vision plans only cover some of the costs. Rarely do they cover everything. You will be surprised if you have never received a dental bill as to how much you are expected to pay. And some employers will charge you for dental or vision. If you do not need glasses, and are single, you may be able to skip this coverage. For example, if you are charged $20 a month for vision, and you get glasses, it may only cover the vision test, lenses, and perhaps $25 towards the frames. Since the total cost per year is $240, you may not get $24 worth of benefits each year. Walmart and other department stores offer low-cost check-ups and glasses. Sometimes the cost is much cheaper than paying premiums. The situation is similar for dental, although there is no low-cost alternative. But the plan may be something like 80/20. Meaning they will pay for 80% of approved procedures and you will be responsible for 20%. Certainly this is a much better deal than vision. But if a crown is $1200, you can bet you will have about $240 out of pocket! Add to this that many times you are talked into procedures that are only cosmetic. Chances are you will foot this whole bill. Some dentists have low-cost options for kids and first time patients.

Life and disibility insurance are two other common options. Your union probably has negotiated both of these. Normally they are quite good. Insurance companies may try and talk you into more coverage. Life insurance is more of a personal choice. How much do you need? If you have children, you may need more. Be aware that if you have a mortgage, you probably have some time of insurance that pays it off if parents die. You will almost always be asked to get more life insurance, so watch out. Disability can be a touchy subject as well. They will try and scare you into buying more. Chances are, you school district offers a basic plan for free that probably provides you coverage of a disability for a few years. Then and only then would any extra coverage kick in. Add to this that most times you CANNOT collect on more than one policy at a time. When you factor in state disability and social security or other federal programs, extra disability insurance may be a waste of money. Read the fine print. Plenty of school districts have generous vacation, personal days, or sick days that can be saved and used later. Some have rules that say you must use these before you tap into any disability insurance.

Bottom line, look over your situation carefully. If you are single, chances are you do not as much coverage as a married person with kids. If you have kids you certainly need to look at the options you will use, as well as which makes it convenient. Some cheaper insurance with lower copayments may be more complicated to use and get seen. Sometimes it is prudent to spend a few extra dollars up front and on copayments if you or your kids can get seen anytime, anywhere.

The dangers:
Getting talked into more insurance than you need.
Getting insurance that you will never use.
Getting insurance that is difficult to use.
Not getting enough insurance.
Not knowing the rules of your insurance.

Don't forget summer! Ask if you do not get a paycheck in the summer, are you still covered? If not, ask how you can get covered.

>>Home loans for teachers.

>>Best books for teachers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How GREEN is your classroom?

Are you a green teacher? Are you trying to create a green classroom? The first thing you can do is reduce paper. Try to have paper-less days. Do more oral, group, and board work. Not every assignment needs to be graded. Not every day do students need to turn things in. School is about learning, not necessarily remembering or memorization. Have a class discussion.

You can call more than one student up to the board to work on problems. Call on students to add sentences or answer questions on the board. They love that.

White board or chalk board? I can only assume that a traditional chalkboard is more environmentally friendly than a white board. White board markers have chemicals and fumes. But the chalk does stir up dust. Do a little research to find out!

Recycle all scraps of paper! If students do not need to take home paper assignments, keep a recycle bin for this purpose. If you teach at a secondary school, all students can recycle paper from all their other classrooms.

Encourage students to refill water bottles.

However, you do not necessarily want this to be school wide all at once. You may be thought of as a pest. Start working slowly on your colleagues and students!

For more GREEN classroom information, go to: Creating a green classroom.

>>Breastfeeding, baby care, and new mom resources.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Switch careers, become a teacher

So, you want to be a teacher?

Well, first thing to know is that you have to have the disposition to be a teacher. It takes a certain type of person. You must be willing to adapt, solve problems, work with kids, and work hard.

But the rewards for teaching are quite immense and that's one of the perks about being a teacher. It can be fun and very satisfying.

it is true that schools have been laying off teachers. But it's not as bad as you think. Some districts and states are hiring, and there are shortages of math, science, bilingual, and special education teachers.

Teachers normally have a job that comes with some stability, a steady salary, and very good benefits.

You certainly need a college degree to start, then you need to be certified in some way. But, there are alternative programs in virtually all states. Some are internships, some are other programs rather than a traditional college avenue.

With the economy in the way it is, it just might be the perfect time to switch careers. You can get student loans and scholarships, and put off job hunting for at least a little while.

Virginia seems to be at the forefront of alternative ways to be a teacher. One new one is the Virginia Career Switchers program. You have to pass a test, take some online classes, then get into the classroom and get help in classroom skills during scheduled meetings. It takes about 18 months to complete the program and costs a little over $3,000. Keep in mind that math and science teachers are in high demand, while others may need to wait for an opening. If you have a college degree and want to teach, check out the program.
There are other national alternative ways to become a teacher. The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is another way, but not all states recognize it. Another large program is the New Teacher Project.

>>Read more ways on being a teacher and finding a teaching job.

>>College money help.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Standardized Tests!

I hear a lot of people putting down standardized tests. What many fail to realize, is that almost every profession has some sort of written standardized test! You cannot be a lawyer, nurse, doctor, contractor, or... The list is endless.

We even make people take a standardized test to get a driver's license!

Standardized tests are not bad! In fact, at the moment, it is the ONLY thing we have to measure student performance.

Teachers have many complaints about the test. But again and again, you only hear about wanting to get rid of them. That's bad. As stated above, standardized tests are not bad. In fact, teachers in California must take a standardized test, the CBEST test, to become a teacher! Why? Again, they are not bad, they are common, and they are the only thing we have!

Add to this the fact that many colleges and universities were sick and tired of getting freshmen who cannot read or write at a freshman level. Many people agreed that we were graduating students who lacked skills. This is not what we want. But, we allowed the system to move students along and not make them accountable. A high school diploma meant almost nothing. Here again in California, the high school exit exam was enacted. It really tests at a 9th or 10th grade level. Why do we complain? Don't we as teachers want to show the world our students are capable? Plus, I find it ironic that virtually all colleges have some sort of entrance exam. How about graduate school? You probably cannot get a masters degree unless you take a standardized test!

Standardized tests are not evil. What is, is killing students by having them sit for hours taking them. What do we really need to do? How about these:

1)Shorten the test. There is no way I need to answer 50 questions for someone to know that I can understand what I read.

2)Make the test count towards the students grade. Every subject should have an end of semester test, standardized, and curriculum driven.

3)Pay the students! Okay, at first you think I'm nuts. Not so fast. I know of schools and districts that spend thousands of dollars on prep classes and remedial work. Fine and dandy. But how about taking some of that money and paying the students? If you score at the proficient level, you get $100, and each increment gets lower amount. Even the bottom. I can almost assure you that you would get more bang-for-the-buck by spending money this way. The students now have a HUGE incentive to actually take the test and do well! Instead of spending cash on useless programs, spend it wisely!

3)Stop putting down tests! It's all we have and it makes us look like whiners. If the real world runs on standardized tests, lets work together to implement them the right way. If not, we will continue to have other people's tests shoved down out throats. We as teachers need to take control of what and how these tests are given.

>>Using technology in the classroom.

>>New teacher tips.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two things a teacher must do in order to be successful

Teaching is not like the movies. You cannot walk into a classroom full of kids and just wow them. You cannot do things on the spot, making stuff up as you go along. Your classroom will have no continuity, focus, rhyme or reason. That's not good teaching. Here are two things teachers need to get squared away to have a truly successful classroom.

Classroom Management.
Classroom management is the day to to day tasks. How you take attendance, collect papers, transition from one lesson to the next, student dismissal, anything that goes with running a classroom. Teachers need a routine. They need a plan. Your students need familiarity with what goes on and know what to expect. Get this down, and your class will have a better chance of running smoothly. The first thing you need is a routine for coming in and starting the class. This can be a handout or boardwork. While students are working on this, you are collecting homework, taking attendance, etc. Don't make this a short assignment. You don't want them to finish before you. You need to keep them busy and focused. Click here for help with classroom management.

Classroom Discipline.
Classroom discipline is the way you deal with problems your students may cause through their behavior. It is NOT classroom management. A few things are important when getting to classroom discipline. A quiet class is not always a working class. Little act-ups are not worth making federal cases out of. Major problems are few and far between. Teachers can cause more problems. You don't really need a list of rules. Does this sound different than what you have heard? Classroom discipline can be as hard as you make it. Again, classroom management is key. Don't give your students a reason or time to act up. Here is just a short scenario. Students like to play with bathroom breaks to cause disruptions and see how far they can go. If you let bathroom breaks be a problem, THEY WILL be a problem! If the class knows that you will not let them go within the first 15 minutes of class, but you WILL let them go, guess what? Problem solved. You can also have a one-student-out-of-the-room at a time policy. Again, problem solved. You can also have a no students goes within 5 minutes of another. Problem solved. The reason the problem gets solved is because now your students know you are not confrontational. Your button cannot be pushed by bathroom breaks. They also have the freedom to go. And they like that. Take that freedom away, and you will have chaos. Most little behavior problems are caused by students feeling they are "oppressed." You may have to modify this for your classroom. You can't get everything from reading, just general tips. >Click here for more real world classroom discipline tips.

You are not the same as another teacher. Never let another teacher snooker you into becoming and acting like them. They all have one good idea, but not everything they say and do is golden. This is especially true of education professors in college, sadly. But you probably found that out the first day of teaching!

>How to assign homework.

>How to lessen teacher stress.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teachers can get free money for their projects

Many teachers have found that they need to pay for some things out of their own pockets. Many times these are for extra, curriculum enriching projects that enhance the learning process. Many districts just cannot find extra money, so any alternative that teachers have for funding is great.

Teachers can put a project online and request the funds at DonorsChoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org is a charity that funds education projects. Teachers post their projects, and others choose to pay for it. Potential donors go to the website and look for projects they would like to fund. Other funds match it from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here are a few tips for teachers to post projects. Do a quick search to see how a proposal should be written. It should fully explain all you want and need, as well as what you will do with it and how it will help your students. Give your proposal a title that will stand out. Ask funds for projects that can be reusable. Keep your initial proposals low, $200 to $400. Be patient. If you need something in the Fall, request it in June or July.

If you are a teacher who does have extra cash, perhaps you can even scan the site, DonorsChoose.org for small projects you can fund and help out a fellow teacher. Many projects are $50 or less.

>>Be a great teacher.

>>Home loans for teachers.


>>Preschool teachers resources.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Start and end class with classroom management

Teachers, if you do not have your classroom management set and in practice, your classroom is probably not being run very effectively. All other things that go on in your classroom hinge on your classroom management.

Now remember, classroom management is not what you do for discipline. Classroom Discipline is a whole other ballgame. Classroom management is how you run your classroom from start to finish.

It is a method. It's opening your class properly, it's doing daily things like collecting papers, it's dismissing your class properly, and everything else in between.

Your classroom management is a plan and routine you follow daily. If you have a routine, your students know what to expect and when. Your classroom discipline will also improve.

Here are just a few tips. Have your students doing something the minute they walk in the classroom. Put a daily problem or discussion question on the board. You don't actually want students to finish it. You want them to be working while you do daily items like attendance, collect papers, etc. Then while they are still working, you discuss the problem on the board. This morphs you into the today's lesson.

You basically need the same routine to end. Your students should be actively engaged up until 1 second before the bell rings. You don't want them done even 5 minutes before. Your students will squirm, talk, and maybe even stand up and head for the door! You can do this by having an oral discussion as to what they should have learned.

The more students have a routine in your classroom, the better. They need to be engaged in learning from the moment they enter, to the moment they leave.

>>Get more classroom management tips here.


>>Student engagement tips.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Five things a teacher must do to be effective

Teachers cannot be effective if they lack certain qualities or are determined to actual teach in a professional, but warm manner. Here are five things you as a teacher should strive to do.

1) Be in school, all the time, taking off only when necessary. Your students suffer academically each and every time you miss class.

2)Teachers need to be available. Every school day you should never turn a student away who needs and wants help before school, lunch time, and after school. You are the best tutor a student could ever get.

3)Introduce yourself to your students' parents and always stay in touch.

4) Be a fair and balanced teacher. Grade scales, assignments, behaviors are modified for your class on a daily basis.

5) Never, ever get angry or upset in class or you will lose all respect as a teacher pretty quick. Oh it may work for a few minutes, but then what?

>>Quick online teaching resources.

>>How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Substitute teaching can be fun and rewarding

Many people work as substitute teachers while they are completing their credential, or waiting for a permanent job to open. But if you like kids, work well with them, have a little on the ball, don't get frustrated easily, and need a part-time job, become a substitute teacher. You may like it and decide to become a regular teacher.

How do you become a substitute teacher?
Most states have similar rules. You probably need a bachelors degree and pass some sort of written test. In California for example, you need a bachelors degree, pass the CBEST Test, get finger printed and have a background check, and apply for a substitute teaching credential. Normally you can do this all through your local school district. Just come by the personnel office and tell them you want to be a substitute teacher. Normally districts hiring them on a constant basis, as some quit or get regular jobs.

Many times, the district will want you to attend a substitute teaching workshop or seminar to get you started.

Many people treat a substitute teaching position as if it were a babysitting job or crowd control. Most times it is, especially at the upper grade level. However, at younger grades, you actually get to teach and interact with students. Not a bad way to earn some money.

In large districts in California and across the country, substitutes make between $100 and $200 a day, even more for long term. Most times you need some type of higher credential to do a really long term sub position. That's not a bad bit of money. However, some days can be quite unpleasant. Substitute teachers are not treated as well in the upper grades. But many love the upper grades and do just fine. Many stick with 4th grade and below.

Many districts are short on sub teachers, so the chances of you working 1 to 2 days a week is pretty good. Keep in mind that you are not guaranteed a daily job. Sometimes you work a lot, sometimes not at all.

Check into substitute teaching. It may lead to a future career as a teacher!

>>Substitute teaching tips and tricks.

>>Backup power in a disaster with a generator.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Be a preschool or early childhood education teacher

If you are considering becoming a teacher, but don't especially want to be with older kids, becoming an early childhood teacher may be just for you.

As fun as it sounds, being a preschool teacher is a lot of work and takes a special person to handle small children.

Teaching is an almost recession-proof career, although some districts have been doing a few layoffs. This is not the case for preschool teachers. The federal government has committed money in the stimulus bill to fund more of these early childhood education program. They are predicting an almost 25% increase in these positions.

If you wish to be a state certified preschool teacher, you probably will need to get an associates degree. If you want to be a kindergarten teacher, this will require a bachelors degree.

Remember that if you teach in a field or area that is under-served, you may get student loans forgiven.

Besides being recession-proof, almost all teachers will get health care and retirement benefits.

Daycare in your home could also be a possibility, with no school, but stringent state rules. For some people, this is a good option. You may have very small children yourself, want to help friends that need daycare, or just need a little extra money. Every state and community has rules for how to set one up. Normally they come with restrictions on the number of non-family members you are allowed to have.

>>More information on becoming a preschool teacher.

>>Preschool teacher resources.

>>Save Money and Find the Cheapest Textbooks

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Teachers, Be there for your students!

The one important thing that teachers can do to be effective is: Be there.

Sounds simple? Many teacher have a habit of not only not being accessible, but literally not showing up period.

You as the teacher of your students are the best one to be instructing them. Take as few sick days off as you can. Have your classroom discipline and classroom management down so that you are not working nights and weekends on school stuff. This will lead to burn-out, which will lead to you being tempted to take days off.

Teachers also need to make themselves available for tutoring. You are the best person to be doing this. See your students during lunch, and before and after school. If this sounds like it will be a hassle, do it once or twice a week. Make a point to allow your students to get help from you.

Making yourself available actually can lessen problems you have in class. If students know you are approachable outside of class time, they just may be better behaved in class.

>Home Loans for Teachers

Teachers and Home Buying

Teachers generally have job security after a couple of years. Because of this, they make good credit risks for home loans. If you can afford it, plan to stay for a long time, then almost any time is right to buy a home. The interest rates on mortgages are at historic lows.

HUD has a program where teachers can get up to 50% of the house taken off.

Here are some other deductions that teachers and anyone who own homes can get.

The mortgage interest. A lot of people think that buying a home is so much better because of the interest deduction. But renters don't have a house payment and renting can be cheaper than buying, deduction or not. But the deduction is something.

Private Mortgage Insurance, PMI can also be deducted in certain situations.

Points if you refinanced.

If you qualify, you can also deduct moving expense for more than 50 miles. This should certainly be looked into for some people. Let's say you lived 40 miles east of Los Angeles, then moved 40 miles north or south. The distance may be 50 miles. If you move to another state especially!

If you sell your home, you don't have to claim any income on the profits if it is less than $250,000.

Times change, but homeownership never does. Teachers should buy a home, any time, if their situation is right. Don't believe the hype. Buy a home to live in long term, not as an investment or ATM. Many people go into trouble doing that!

>>Read more information on teachers and home loans.


>College Money, Financial Aid, Student Loans, Consolidation, Scholarships.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Girls and Math

I taught high school at an inner city high school and never saw any math phobia among girls.

In fact, girls were the better students. We do them a disservice by thinking they can't do math unless we make accommodations. The problem is getting girls to go to do something with their math skills.

From computer science, to engineering. From a nurse to a research scientist. All these jobs need a boat load of math. Girls should be encouraged to seek a career in these fields.

Get your female students interested in math by showing them other women who have been in math and made major contributions. We have a website that lists the top ten women in math history. It gives a very short bio just to pique the interest in finding out more about them.

Visit the Top Ten Women in Math History

A Few Teaching Tricks and Tips

Having trouble keeping track of your originals? Use a neon (not dark) yellow highlighter and write the word "original" across the top. The word will not show up when making copies. You may have to experiment with colors, as some may faintly show up.

Have your class "adopt a hallway" or other part of the school. Your class will make sure it is clean and tidy. Encourage other teachers to do the same.

Show educational films after school in your classroom. Documentaries, nature, etc. are good topics. Many times you can't or should not show movies in class. Invite students and parents to attend. You can even have snacks. Make it an education movie afternoon.

A good way to get your students working together is to tell them they must ask at least three classmates for "help" before asking the teacher.

Do you see things in the classroom that are not provided by the district, such as hand sanitizer, baby wipes (good for cleanup), and other items you may need? Ask students if any parent may wish to "donate" items. You will be surprised as to how many do.

If you teach elementary, have a backpack-free classroom. There really is no need to these kids to bring a backpack to school, right? It has just become a given that kids and backpacks go hand in hand. But what are they for? Not much! Except for jamming up the classroom and causing problems!

Play background music while students work. Find appropriate mood music that will be soft and inspiring at the same time.


Create free math worksheets

VA Veterans Home Loans

College Money, Financial Aid, Student Loans, Consolidation, Scholarships.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Best Books for Teachers

Nothing beats experience and watching a good teacher. But new teachers need a starting point, even if it is for only a couple of good tips. Books on tips for teachers and teaching tricks are a good start. Books give the beginning teacher the advantage to always have the reference handy, as well as being able to peruse the teaching tips at their own pace.

Keep in mind that books on teaching are not going to be what will solve all of your problems. All books do not have the answers. Just a piece of the puzzle. But books can be a valuable teaching aid.

For a list of the best books on teaching and books for teachers, click here.
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VA Veterans Home Loans

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick tip to reduce teacher stress!

One of the biggest things about teacher stress is the tired feeling a teacher gets. A new teacher just does not realize how tiring the job is. Mind work can be very stressful. To give you less stress, try and grade less! That's right, grade less. Grading is a time taking effort. It can kill you. So, try this: Make one day a week a non-turn-in day. That is, collect no work from students. You take attendance, so you have a record of who is there. Do some group work and grade the effort. Grading this way takes very little time. One more, NEVER give an exam or collect a HUGE assignment on Friday. You will waste your weekend and a weekend is what a teacher needs to recharge. Avoid grading over the weekends!

>>Click here for more tips on reducing the stress of being a teacher!

>>All about power generators and why you need one!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Teachers assigning homework just because...

Teachers, you need to understand the value of homework, as well as the nonvalue of homework. Homework should not be given just because you fee l the need to assign homework. Many teachers are under the false impression that more homework makes a better student. It doesn't.

First and foremost, homework should be given as an adjunct activity. Not more of the same old same old drill and kill. You have the classroom for that. It should be something that enhances the learning and reinforces why a student should be learning what you are teaching. Many teacher feel they have no time to do fun or extra activities. BINGO! Homework is the perfect vehicle for this!

Here's just a short tip about homework. Never assign it on Thursday. That way, no homework to grade or report over the weekend.

Your students' jobs are going to school. Why on earth would you want to burden them further? Most jobs do not require hours of extra things to complete at home. (Teaching being an exception, of course) If we want students think "real world," then we need to get them doing real world things.

For more tips on how teachers can assign homework click here.

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>Teacher Resources, Teaching Articles, Teaching Tips.

>College Money, Financial Aid, Student Loans, Consolidation, Scholarships.

>VA Veterans Home Loans

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to keep your teaching job

Many school districts around the country are planning layoffs for next year. Some of you may be out of a job come next September. Good news is that layoffs for teachers are the last step in budget cuts, but still, some teachers will get laid off. Can you do anything to protect your job? Well, this blog post will probably rankle some feathers, but here goes!

Math and science teachers are always in demand. Since you already have a teaching credential, you may think about taking some math and science courses to at least qualify to teach middle school.

Charter schools are under different rules. Seniority does not count. If you are a great teacher at a charter school, the principal can save you.

If you are an elementary teacher, the sad truth is, you probably have more of a chance at being laid off than a high school or middle school teacher. One reason is class size. The big thing in the 1990's was to reduce class size in k to 3. Now, many districts are making the classes bigger, hence they need less teachers at those levels. So, unless you have tenure, you may be one of the first to go if you teach elementary school. In most school districts, secondary teachers who don't have as much district experience are not replaced by an elementary teacher just because they have more. State rules require a different credential. This refers us back to the previous paragraph.

You may have thought about it, but if you work at a charter school, probably union rules do not apply. If the principal wants you, they will keep you. Not so at traditional public schools. You may get bumped. You may rethink your job prospects by applying to teach at a charter school. Then if cuts come, charter schools are almost exempt. This is because they do not have to follow seniority rules, and have much more leeway when spending money. In other words, if you are a first year teacher at a charter school, and the principal wants you, you will probably not need to worry about being laid off.

Don't think principals are immune. Many districts are cutting back on the number of principals. Not more assistant to the assistant. So, don't go getting a principal's job thinking you are immune from cuts. And senior principals with seniority will bump a lower teacher if they go back to teaching.

Remember, the peripheral staff will get cut before teachers. So, if you were thinking of becoming a specialist, like reading, you may want to go for something else. Same for counselors, etc.

Are you eligible to coach a varsity team, especially football, perhaps basketball? These are normally teachers hired specifically for that purpose. They are many times given classroom teaching jobs as well. Do you think they will be laid off? Fat chance. They probably have a contract for the season and beyond.

Look for surrounding cities and districts in the state where you live. Many times districts side by side are having different problems. You may have another job on the burner just in case.

A lot large cities are on the borders of states. Check across state lines for opportunities. In other words, if California has problems, how about looking to a neighboring state?

Remember, if you are part of a union, it is probably last hired first fired, no matter what. No exceptions. You are not protected by just being a fantastic teacher.

And we want to reiterate that not all teaching jobs are equal. Band and art teachers are looked upon as more expendable. You have got to think about that if you are preparing to teach.

The best thing a teacher can do is a little research. If you do not have tenure, you especially need to get your ducks in a row.

>How to be a Teacher and Find a Teaching Job

>Home Loans for Teachers

>College Money, Financial Aid, Student Loans, Consolidation, Scholarships.

>Baby, New Mother, and Breastfeeding Resources

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teaching all students does not mean teaching differently

You cannot, and should not, change successful teaching. Teacher education classes are teaching new teachers that they need to accommodate any and all differences in your students' makeup.

The problem with changing your style, is that you cannot change to accommodate every student. If you do, you will indeed succeed at doing nothing except chaos. You, as the teacher, need to devise lesson plans to reach all students at the same time. We underestimate our students quite a bit. Your students are adaptable. Your students can learn. Your students can also see right through you. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Real life is not about accommodations. Real life is learning to adapt, follow rules, and get ahead in spite of obstacles. The only guideline I would give is to make your lesson plans grade, subject, and age appropriate.

Every teacher early on in the school year, needs to get to know their students. Your classroom is your classroom. It is not your college professor's classroom. It is not the teacher next door's classroom. You and you alone should be the sole judge as to what works and doesn't work in your classroom. You have a set curriculum. Teach it in a way that is comfortable for you and your students. Somehow politics has mixed up what a teacher is supposed to do. Yes. There are rare, and I mean rare, instances when specific things for specific students need to be addressed. The bottom line again, for teachers, is that good teaching is good teaching, no matter what kinds of students you have.

More on this article at:

http://teachersindex.com/classroomdiversity.html


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>Baby and new
mom resources and tips!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Teaching is still a mostly recession-proof career

Thinking of being a teacher? There are still jobs for teachers. Even though districts are making cuts, most of the teaching jobs have been saved.

This is especially true if you are teaching math or science. These teachers are in high demand, and probably will be for a long time.

The best places for jobs are in the big states, California, New York, Texas, and Florida.

Yes, you have heard stories in the news about teacher cuts, but most have been avoided. Schools cut other personnel first.

So, if you are a current teacher, and worried about budget cuts, find out the true story and ask your union what you can and cannot do about it. You would be the most worried if you are the last one hired. Normally, those will be cut first. But again, math and science teachers are normally immune to these cuts, as schools have a hard time getting these teachers.

Also, you may look into getting a different type of teaching credential. Find out if it would be beneficial to take some advanced math or science classes to at least be certified to teach math at science at an entry level.

Special education teachers are also normally in high demand. There can be shortages of these teachers in various parts of the country. Getting a Spec Ed credential can be a little harder, and the teaching more taxing, but it can be a rewarding career.

Don't discount colleges, universities, and technical schools. Find out what local schools are hiring and what they require as certification. Many technical schools and community colleges allow teaching with a bachelor's degree. And with budget cuts, community colleges are filling up. Many unemployed workers are returning to school and going to a technical college to learn a trade.

If you are not currently a teacher and thinking about a teaching career, read more information on how to be a teacher and get a teaching job.
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>VA Veterans Home Loans

>Home Loans for Teachers

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three ways teachers can use the internet daily

The internet is a great place for teachers, especially when you are looking a quick teaching idea or tool, a worksheet, or even general teacher stuff. Teachers should actually spend a few hours on the weekends looking over what things they can use in the upcoming weeks. But mostly teachers will use the internet three ways.

1) Printing out worksheets. The internet is a great place to find worksheets to start a lesson, fill in between or before lessons, or even enhance lessons. While it may be difficult to find specific worksheets on all subjects, the internet shines when it comes to printing out math worksheets. Many times you can create custom worksheets geared for your class grade. You can find other general worksheets like graph paper and graphic organizers.

2)Finding quick teaching tools or ideas. If you need something quick or a teaching tool, many sites have such things. This can be good if you show up to school and "forgot" something.

3)Teacher information on various grade levels and subjects is right at your finger tips. You can find what other teachers are doing, join groups, network with other teachers online, or find professional teaching organizations.

>>Click here to find quick teaching tools, like graphic organizers.

>>Click here for the ultimate K-12 Teacher Online guide

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teachers, how positive is your classroom?

Are your students encountering a positive atmosphere when they walk into your classroom? Are you a teacher who constantly nags and complains about what is not being done? Are the walls of your classroom bare or devoid of student work? Then you probably do not have a positive classroom.

Two quick things you can do to create a more positive environment. First, you have got to stay upbeat on the outside. Never let your anger or disappointment get the better of you. You will lose your students. Encourage them at all times and try and put something positive toward everyone. Second, get some student work up on the walls! No matter what level or subject, you can and should put work up on the wall. And don't be shy. Fill up the space and use work from each and every student. One example is when I taught math at a large public high school. At least twice a month we did an art project that had a math theme. All work went up on the walls. There were times when my classroom had no blank space at all. You do not need to spend money on posters. Your students can create all you need.
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>Teacher Resources, Teaching Articles, Teaching Tips.

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Simple Way Teachers Can Really Save Their District Money

Are you a teacher afraid of budget cuts?

There is a very simple thing that all teachers can do to save their district money.

Have perfect attendance.

If you work for a large district, the money they spend on substitute teachers is enormous. I worked as one when the pay was $60 a day. Now it can be as high as $150-200. Think about the math on this one. Everyday you call for a sub costs the district money. It also costs your students time. Time spent with their real teacher. Subs are real teachers and some are good. I was real good. But not even close to the teaching your students get from you. Be a role model for your students to have perfect attendance. During my first year as a math teacher in a large inner city high school, I had perfect attendance. I got a small certificate as a reward. The real reward was in being there for my students. I was appalled that so many teachers call in sick or take off.

My school had perhaps 150 teachers with an absent rate of about 5% a day. 5 percent of 150 is about 7 teachers. 7 times an average of $100 is $700 a day. My district had 2 large high schools and 3 large middle schools. That's a huge amount of money going out for just secondary. We had dozens of elementary schools. If the rate was the same, we are talking thousands of dollars a year wasted on substitute teachers. Well, not wasted in every case. Some subs do good jobs, some teachers need to take off. But seriously, if you are a veteran teacher, shame on you if you are out regularly.

This school year is ending. Be determined to get that perfect attendance award and encourage your fellow teachers to do the same!

Please read my other articles on:

How to be a great teacher.

Substitute teaching tips.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Teachers, Are you phoning home?

If you are a teacher, and you are not phoning student's homes on a nightly basis, you are missing out on one of the best classroom discipline tricks there is.

It takes only a few minutes to call 4 or 5 student's parents. You can introduce yourself, and start a dialogue on their child. You do not need to, nor should you, complain about the student on the first call home. You need to meet and greet first.

Do not call for each and every problem. Only serious ones. In fact, you may call to praise a student, and as an aside, mention something they need to work on.

If you have never tried this, you will be amazed at how many students change. Once they and other students know you call home, they will be aware that what they do in class matters.

For more information on classroom discipline, try:

http://teachersindex.com/classroomdiscipline.html

Friday, July 9, 2010

Are you a negative teacher?

Are you a negative teacher? Always telling students what the should not be doing? Do you openly get mad when students misbehave or are not getting the material? Is your classroom an experience your students would rather forget?

You need to be a more positive teacher and create a positive learning atmosphere. Your class should not be one where students hate or dread to enter. No, this does not mean just having fun and games. It means being a serious teacher, with a positive outlook.

Try being a teacher who turns negatives into positives. When a student acts up, remember the ones who are not. "I am pleased most of you are behaving appropriately." As opposed to singling out the misbehaving student.

You can let a lot of little things go. Don't let them get to you. If you let every thing in a classroom get you down, it will show. And you will accomplish nothing.

When students do not score high enough on an exam or assignment, you say something like, "Many of you did not do well. But this is a new day. Every one of you has the ability to get a passing grade."

The above examples are just two instances in turning a negative into a positive. You want the students to try and be better. Or at least think about being better.

Try to smile as much as possible. Look like you are an interested teacher. In fact, be an interested teacher.

Your classroom should be one where students are ready to learn and are not afraid to fail.

>More tips on creating a positive classroom.

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>>Lessen the stress of a your teaching job.

>>How to get parents involved.

Get students into education with the real world

Many students always ask, when are we going to use this? Especially in math. well, the truth is, most of them will not. But, lots of professions do, and many of your students will become a profession that uses all sorts of skills they learn in school.

A good way to pique the interests of students, even if they do not have any thoughts of using these skills in the future, is to get them to look at how people and companies around them use them. Also, a look at the past is helpful as well.

Here are three websites to help with this.

Link: Top 10 women in math history
This website gives a short description of some fantastic women in history who had an influence in the world of math. The purpose of this site was to get people interested in the history of math, women in math, and how cool doing things with math can be.

Link: Jobs that use math
This website does not give normal jobs. Instead, it uses jobs that high school students may think of as "cool." Reading about just how much math there is in certain jobs can be a way to interest students in math.

Link: Fun and amazing facts about the United States
How do you get students really interested in history? By finding out some off the wall facts about their country. Learn about some things about the United States that puts another slant on history. Here's one that may get even you interested: Did you know that some of Ghandi's ashes are in the United States? Visit the site to fond out where.

After visiting the sites above, maybe you can come up with a website of your own to give some real world information, or make your subject interesting.

>Home Loans for Teachers

>College Money, Financial Aid, Student Loans, Consolidation, Scholarships.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grants for Becoming a Teacher

School districts are laying off teachers, that's true. But teaching in the right places, and the right subject, will almost always guarantee you a job. Now may be a good time to switch careers if you are thinking about your job security.

TEACH Grant Program is a federal funded program for people looking to be teachers. The grant is $4,000 a year. There are some rules for getting the money.

You must first agree to teach in an area or school that is underserved. A four year commitment to teach there is a must. If you fail to do that, you will have to pay back the money. It will be treated as a student loan.

You must be actively enrolled in a program that leads to teaching in a high demand area, such as math, science, special ed, and bilingual.

You also must maintain a 3.35 GPA.

$4,000 is not a bad bit of money to help you go back to school and complete a teaching credential.

>>How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.


>>Home loans for teachers.

>>Find and buy cheap textbooks.

>>College Money Tips.

Do you just lecture?

Students being actively engaged in learning at all times should be the goal of every teacher.

Too many times teachers hear that they need a quiet class to be successful. Not so. A quiet class, except during a test, may not show much at all except a quiet class.

Students who are working, talking, creating, discussing, are actively engaged in learning.

Do you just lecture? If so, do you stop after every few sentences and ask for feedback, questions, comments? If not, why not? Boring your students is not teaching. Call on your students by name constantly! Get them involved! Students will remember quite a bit even when they don't take notes if they are active in the presenting of material.

When giving individual work, make it only a couple of minutes. Transition to the next phase. Keep your students busy.

Sometimes group work helps, sometimes it doesn't. Asking for help with the student next to them is not an interruption. Allow your students the opportunity to engage with other students. This works for whatever subject you are presenting. Read more tips on students engagement.

>>More teaching tips, teachers resources, teaching articles.

>>Find college money tips and cheap textbooks.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Were you a pink slipped teacher?

Teachers across the country are getting pink slips. Some will have them revoked, others will need to find another school district. Some districts are closing schools at a record pace. There are many factors in this, but the common ones are budget and declining enrollment.

The declining enrollment can be attributed to parents homeschooling or moving to less crowded states. Also, illegal aliens may be returning to their home country, taking the kids with them.

Of course the biggest is budget. It should be no surprise to anyone. Especially states like California. For at least 35 years, this state has added program after program. And had to increase spending. But enrollment was not keeping up. The budgets of schools should have remained steady, except for inflation and any increase in enrollment. But the powers that be decided otherwise. They decided we need to come up with unique programs to add to the school day and educational experience. So we get what we have today. I system that is bloated with pet programs and top heavy positions requiring fat salaries.

Yes, the top is bloated. We have superintendents for everything. We have assistant supers to those. They all get secretaries. They all get car allowances. Full benefits, and well over 6 figure salaries. Why? We don't need all these superintendents. Schools can function quite well without them. In fact, get a lousy one and you add to the misery.

We think we have to attract these people with cars, money, etc. Why? Our educational achievements here in California are lousy. We rank near the bottom for that, but near the top for salaries. Why?

Teachers have no gripes either. They have frittered away responsibilities to literacy coaches, tutors, mentors, resource teachers, and any pet project you can think of. We keep adding programs. Oh sure, they're nice programs. But we can't keep adding to the fat. We can't keep adding projects and programs without thinking of the consequences. Sooner or later, we will run out of money. And we have.

Some districts have so many employees, each kid could almost get one on one instruction. Schools don't create revenue. It's gotten from you and me. So when someone adds a program or gets a raise, it comes from someone elses pocket. But soon there are no more pockets to pick from. This ponzi shceme had to end. And it's ending badly.

But not really. We scream about cuts as if they really are cuts. They are not. They are a returning to a logical level of spending. Public school was never intended to be a place where we have day care, feed breakfast and lunch, and take care of every special request and need of every student. Can't be done. Should not be done.

Money never has been a problem. Look at our public schools 150 years ago. These schools were just instruction. Period. And we ushered in the greatest industrial revolution ever. The first half of the last century was no different. We sent a man to the moon and invented personal computers. But look at what has happened since. A complete change to nonsense. Public schools became places for political experiments.

And now we can't pay. Go figure.

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>>How to get a teaching job.
>>Best Teacher Books.
>>Create a GREEN classroom.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Free grants for teachers and classrooms

Weareteachers.com gives out between 5 and 10 $200 grants to teachers who submit their projects for using the grant. The winning teachers also get a video camera to show their project being implemented.

First, you must join weareteachers.com the submit a project. Then you get as many people to vote for you one the website. You will be given instructions when submitting. You want your classroom project to appeal to as many people as possible. Those who visit the website can find your project and vote for you. You can also send people to the website to vote. The more votes you get, the higher your project becomes. The top vote getters will be awarded the money. So far, over 100 of these micro grants have been awarded.

Weareteachers.com also has many resources for teachers and classrooms.

Fundforteachers.com is another program that awards grants to schools.

>Teacher Resources, Teaching Articles, Teaching Tips.

>Home Loans for Teachers

>How to be a Teacher and Find a Teaching Job

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bad economy means going back to school is a good option

Many people are out of work, laid off, furloughed, or just working part time. The economy does not seem to be getting better soon. Did you know that going back to college is a good idea and investment?

Adults who have Bachelors degrees already should think about graduate school. You can borrow up to about $20,000 to pay for grad school. There are other loans available as well. >>Graduate school admission and financial aid.

Graduate school can help you get more marketable skills and experience to secure a higher paying job. That's a given. But one more thing it can do during a bad economy, is put of a job search until times are better.

You have a win-win situation. You don't have to look for a job, and you are getting more skills for when you do!

Teaching is almost recession-proof. Yes, there are teacher layoffs all over, but there are still plenty of jobs for the right teacher. Math and science teachers are always high in demand. Chances are less to be laid off if you teach one of these subjects. Special Education is another high demand teacher. Normally, there are more jobs for these teachers than there are teachers. Again, this makes for less chances of being laid off. Because of the budget cuts, they are increasing class size in K-3. That means, those grades will have fewer jobs, more chance to be laid off. >>How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.

The bigger the state and district, the more need there is for teachers.

Don't think you have time for school? Going to school online is a great time saver. Also, online classes are usually cheaper. >>Information on online college degrees.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free online resources for teachers

The internet has a wealth of information for teachers. But it also has teaching tools and materials that for the most part are free. Many teachers do an online search before going out and buying something. Here are some terrific examples for teachers.

Math worksheets: You can create and print out free math worksheets. You can use ones that are pre-made, or create custom ones. These can be used for many grade levels. Click here to start creating math worksheets. If you are a math teacher, or need more math printouts, click here for free graph paper and other math worksheets.

Quick teaching tools and resources: Do you need a calendar? Perhaps a coloring page, word search or crossword puzzle. Maybe graphic organizers. These and more are available free online. You won't have to buy a teacher printout book again. Click here for online teaching tools.

Subject specific resources. The internet is full of professional websites for teachers of all subjects and grades. You can get teaching ideas and see the latest teaching methods in your subject. Click here for a k-12 teacher resources guide.

Latest education news: Do you like staying up to date on what's happening in education across the country and world? Click here for the latest education news.

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>>Does your school have a disaster plan?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Motivating Your Students

Teachers in most cases need to motivate their students. Rarely do students show up ready and willing to get down to some learning. Here are some tips to motivate your students.

Motivation starts with the teacher. Are you knowledgeable, organized, and excited about what you teach? if you are not at least knowledgeable and organized, your students will be short changed.

Is your classroom a good environment for learning? Is it cold and stale, or warm and inviting? Are you warm and inviting?

Students must feel the need to learn. It is a teacher's job to instill some type of interest in the students. Lesson plans should first use something that grabs the students attention and makes them want to learn. If you include valid reasons for learning, students will more readily adapt.

Reality is next in motivation. Students need some type of reward. But I am not talking about candy or prizes. You can use those, but getting students to be self rewarded is your goal. Your verbal rewards, like praise and encouragement, are worth more than gold. Get your students to walk out of your classroom a satisfied student. All students love praise. Use it!

The more you can create a positive classroom, the more your students will be motivated. Don't expect miracles overnight. Some students can be a challenge. It's your job to get it done!

>>Tips to create a positive classroom environment.

>>Tips for Engaging your students.