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.