Q&A #2599

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Classroom Openers

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From: kim

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006072823:43:58
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Classroom Openers

Hi Debra,
I was a first year teacher last year after changing careers quite
drastically. I love it! I had many of the same questions, and
unfortunately learned many lessons the hard way, as I am sure most
teachers do. :) Classroom mgmt/tone= I think my most important lesson
learned here, is that I started off being a bit too easy going and
"nice" and then had a difficult time reeling in some of the more
disruptive classes. It is much easier to start off stricter and ease
up as you deem fit rather than going from the "nice" teacher to the
strict one, too late, I had lost control of sorts. State expectations
right off the bat. Have a list posted of your non-negotiables so to
speak. Just like parenting and picking your battles - what things
AREN'T you willing to compromise on: respect, cursing, tardiness, etc.
I think YES on bell work or thoughts of the day so to speak. The
classroom starts off our of control if the students entering the
classroom during the bell change don't have something expected of them
to do. It can be a short math problem from the previous day's lesson
or an opener to the new lesson prepared for that day. Have them
completed in a notebook that is randomly collected for a grade.
Therefore, that cuts down on your pile of papers to grade, but makes
them responsible for completing the work. I kept a notebook of the
questions on a bookcase each day so that any absence student was still
required to complete the question so that when randomly collected for
grading you were not responsible to correlate with absences. I closed
each day with a 3-5 minute "clean-up" so to speak. These kids are not
given much time to change classes so you know most of them are going
to be getting books put up and back packs ready to go. Some teachers
got angry when students did this before the bell. I felt that at my
previous jobs I would usually wrap up my paperwork, clean up my desk,
rinse out cups, etc. before I left work, so why fight it. Make it a
part of the day. They were to write down homework assignments, put up
their work that was due in my basket, clean up their area from trash
scratch paper, etc. This way the classroom was picked up and
frustrations were cut down. Hope some of these ideas help. Good luck!

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