Friday, January 14, 2011

Two biggest mistakes teachers make

New teachers, and even old ones, sometimes are ripe for mistakes in their teaching procedures. Some teaching mistakes are minor and are immaterial to the overall scheme of classrooms. However, each and every teacher should be aware that there are at least two huge mistakes that can be costly.

The first is being best friends with your students. You are not a friend, but a teacher. This does not mean you cannot befriend students. Big difference. You are the adult, they are the child. You are not to become buddies. Too many teachers take the approach that being a teacher involves being a friend to every student. This "friend" definition is really more close to winning a popularity contest. Teachers err by doing things that will get students to like them, as opposed to doing things to get students to learn. Teacher must demand and get respect. If not, your whole classroom discipline falls flat or even fails. Your students actually want you to be a leader. To teach. To grade fairly. To demand that they perform to the utmost of their ability. That's your job, actually.

The other big mistake teachers make is by being very lax or have a nonexistent discipline plan. Or worse, one that is not enforced the same way all the time. You must have a discipline plan and stick to it. This is in direct correlation to the first mistake above. You cannot waiver on this. If you do not start out on the right, firm foot, you will have a very tough year. Do not think that you can get by without one, and then later, come up with one if needed. It will be too late and next to impossible. Like putting toothpaste back in a tube.

If you are a new teacher and need help, get it!

>>Help for new teachers.

>>Teacher resources on campus.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Late Homework Policies

If a teacher is going to assign homework, sooner or later a student is going to turn it in late. Or not at all and ask for an extension. What is your late work policy? Do you make it up on the fly? Many teachers do, but this is not being fair to all students. Every teacher should have a stated, clear policy when it comes to turning in late assignments.

First, check to see if your school or district has a policy about late assignments. Many do. Your homework policy cannot go against this.

Here are some more tips for teachers and collecting homework.

Collect it immediately when students enter class, or shortly thereafter. Do not collect it whenever the student wants to turn it in.

Give some credit for incomplete work. You will save a lot of trouble if you do this.

You need clear options for grading late work. Have a set policy. What penalty will it cost the student to turn in late work?

How about students who are absent? Your district and school probably have clear policies as to when a student is able to turn in work assigned or collected while they were on an excused absence.

How long will you accept late work? One day? Two days? These are important details to have down.

A good way to cut down on daily collecting of homework is to give long-term assignments. But even these must have due dates.

The mistake many teachers make is not having a set policy for late work. This will only cause problems, and student will push the limit if they know you are not firm.

It is worth repeating that your policy must be aligned with school-wide rules.

Here is a general guide.

For absent students, work should be due after the same number if days the student was absent. Most students are absent one or two days. If they were absent on Tuesday, back on Wednesday, the work would be due on Thursday. For longer absences, it is a good idea to send work home, actually. A parent or guardian can pick it up at the office.

For late homework, you need a cut off date and penalty. One day late, 10% less, two days late, 20% less, 3 days late, no credit.

The best tip as that you assign homework in such a way as to avoid a lot of students turning it in late. You could assign homework during the week, but have a due date of Friday.

Click here for more information and tips on assigning homework.

>>Create free math worksheets.

>>Handling confrontational students.