To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
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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