- PTSD in Teachers: Yes, It's Real! - August 19, 2018
- Teacher Anxiety: How to Cope With Anxiety Under Stress - July 29, 2018
- Depression Kills Teachers if Left Untreated: It Should Not Kill Their Careers - July 23, 2018
- Amidst Declining Mental Health in Teachers, What Can Administrators Do? - June 30, 2018
- 5 Things I'd Tell Myself in My Earlier Teaching Years - October 15, 2017
- How Class Dojo Saves My Sanity Daily - October 1, 2017
- Surviving the School Year: Game of Thrones Style - August 27, 2017
- What to Change Behavior? Start With Class Meetings in Special Education - August 20, 2017
- When Your Administrator Doesn't Like You - July 3, 2017
- Conquering Teacher Biases Against Disabilities: Important Strategies - May 8, 2017
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Find out The 10 Commandments of Teaching that all teachers should follow! Click To Tweet
Put Students First
Differentiation is the key when putting students first. In one class, you might have a student with an IEP, an AIG student, and those students who are somewhere in the middle. Expecting each student to demonstrate understanding of the standard in the same way isn't reasonable. One way you can differentiate for each student is to give a choice menu for the students so that they each show what they know in a way they're comfortable with. Give them opportunities to express creativity in learning by writing songs, creating posters, making video clips, acting it out, etc., and you'll see how much they flourish.
Do Not Worship the Test
As tempting as it is to teach to the test, what your students need to learn goes far beyond what's on the test. In math, for example, you might know that a 7th grader needs to know how to use proportions, but there are real-world applications of the material that they need to know as well. Don't just teach them test questions. Show them why they need to use proportions. A great example of this would be showing them how to convert a recipe to either smaller or larger quantities. Teach them how important the concept is by providing real-world examples. Don't just skill and drill them to death.
Use Words Carefully
Sometimes it's difficult, but we are the adults in the room, so even if little Jimmy might argue, insult, or fail to comply, we have to keep our cool. Children really know how to push our buttons, especially if we show them through our words, actions, and body language that we get bothered by their actions. Use calming strategies like taking a deep breath, counting to ten, and stepping away from the situation to help get you through it. Outside of the classroom, you can connect with your colleagues and try to get some advice on how best to manage someone like little Jimmy. You school counselor, the school psychologist, and your special ed teachers are some really good resources when it comes to managing behaviors. And if all else fails, just remember that he won't be coming home with you, so you when you get home, just relax and think about how tomorrow will be a better day. That leads into the next commandment.
Know When to Take Breaks
An exhausted, worn-out teacher is usually not good for anyone. Your students can perceive it when you're tired or don't want to be there. Some of the worst days I've had as a teacher are the days that I came in feeling tired and irritable. I stayed up too late the night before trying to get my papers graded, lessons planned, etc., only to find that the time was wasted because I was just too tired to teach effectively. I would get the content across okay, but not as well as I could have if I had not been so tired. Sleep and relaxation are so important! Even doctors are required to get a certain amount of sleep so that fatigue does not cause errors in treatment. Truck drivers are supposed to stop and rest after a certain number of hours on the road. As teachers, our jobs are so important that we cannot afford to make errors due to lack of adequate rest.
Know Their Parents
According to PBS, establishing positive parent-teacher communication is an important factor in student success. The fact is, if the parent does not feel good about the teacher, the student is less likely to feel good about going to school and is less likely to find success as a result. If the parent trusts the teacher, the child is more likely to trust the teacher. How can you establish a good relationship? Communicate frequently about the child's performance in the classroom. This does not always have to be a phone call. You can send progress reports, letters, memos, etc., to communicate a child's progress in your classroom. Respect the relationship you hold with your parents. They are part of the key to success in the classroom!
Do No Harm
As communicated in my article about how student emotions are important in the classroom, how child feel when they come in and while they learn impacts their ability to learn. A distressed child is less likely to absorb information because emotional pain blocks the brain's ability to problem-solve. If a child feels emotionally unsafe in your classroom, you cannot expect that child to gain the confidence to succeed and shut-down is more likely to occur. While you may really feel like being sarcastic with child, you should maintain professionalism and try to find out how to change the pattern of behaviors that cause those feelings. Connect with your children--find their likes, dislikes, what makes them happy, what frustrates them, what goes on at home, etc., if you want to see them thrive. Find ways to help. Do no harm.
Do Not Cheat Them
While it may not seem like it sometimes, your students come to school to learn--from you! We all get sick, have family emergencies, and get exhausted sometimes, but if you are frequently absent, it will not only have an impact on the amount of information the students learn, but it will shatter their ability to trust that you will be there for them. According to USA Today, in some of this nation's largest school districts, teachers are absent an average of 11 days! Overall, teacher attendance was at an average of 94%, which is excellent, but in the classrooms where teachers are frequently absent, it creates feeling of instability for the students. They need you there as much as possible. Teachers get sick, etc., and should take off of work for legitimate reasons. In those unavoidable circumstances, leave the substitute with background information on your class, needs of students, and a really good lesson plan so that the students can learn in your absence.
Take Only What's Yours
Have you ever had a student show up 10 minutes late to class with an excuse from a teacher stating he or she had to hold the student? What about a whole class of students? Did you get frustrated with the time you lost with those students? Follow the Golden Rule when it comes to situations like these. If you don't want it to happen to you, don't do it to others. Every now and then you'll have student that needs to be held back for a moment to calm down and refocus. If this is something that happens frequently, make sure you work out with your colleagues how best to handle these situations. We only have what seems like a precious few minutes to get our students to absorb information. Make sure that you don't take those precious minutes away from your colleagues.
Do Not Lie
People respect it when we are honest with them. Admitting your faults, while it seems denigrating, actually helps parents, students, administrators, and colleagues respect you as a person. According to Lumpkin, teachers are role models for their students. We must show professionalism in all situations, and, as Lumpkin states in her article, "integrity means consistently doing what is right, even when it would be easier to do something that is personally more beneficial." Don't sacrifice your integrity. Maintain ethical behavior and your integrity will remain intact.
No Green-Eyed Monsters
The fact is, we need each other as educators. Kristi Smith gives a great anecdotal example of how important it is for us to maintain healthy communication with our colleagues in her essay about how she was the only teacher in the school not to dress up for Halloween due to lack of communication. While it may seem like we don't have time to stop and chat, the fact is that we need to talk to our coworkers. Take five minutes during lunch, spend a couple of minutes after school, or find time during your planning to have a productive conversation with colleague. It only takes a few minutes a day to communicate information. And if a colleague is doing something better than you are, go ask how she did it so that you can use her methods in your classroom. There's no room for jealousy in teaching. We need each other to survive.
What commandment would you add to the list?
Leave me comment and tell me what you think I missed!
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