Tips for Teachers
There are so many things to think about in our teacher lives! So, I’ve got seven tips for teachers that might help you personally and/or professionally:-)
Establish a morning routine – not just in your classroom, but as part of your ‘personal’ morning. Some of us are morning people, and we like to get up extra early, do our workouts, read, walk the dog, make a big breakfast, read to the kids, etc, before we head off to work early, to prep at little at school and then share our day with the students in the classroom.
But others of us are NOT morning people, hit the snooze button five times before slowly rolling out of bed, getting ready as fast as physically possible, getting our kids ready, grabbing our morning coffee (and maybe a bagel or something), and getting into the classroom right on time….about 5 minutes before the kids arrive.Which one of these scenarios sounds like you?
I’m definitely a morning person, but sometimes I didn’t want to get up any earlier than I had to. I understand that feeling; definitely been there.
- However, I’ve always found that even if getting up earlier made me a little tired (or cranky to start with), my mind was so much more ready to face the day in the classroom if I’d had a little bit of ‘me’ time first thing in the morning.
So, while I’m not suggesting you become a morning person, I am suggesting you get yourself some ‘me’ time with a personal morning routine, so you can be as ready as possible for your students and your day:-)
Do you have homeroom students that stay with you for your first class? Or homeroom students that go to another teacher for 1st period?
- Unpack and go to locker; get the materials needed for periods 1-4
- Sign in on the clipboard (I have a clipboard on the front board, with a list of students’ names and the dates, for students to initial to indicate that they are present.)
- Sharpen pencils
- Put notes/papers for Mrs. N. into pink tray
- Begin M.G. (my term for “morning work”) Working on M.G. was great when my homeroom students were in my 1st period class. When they weren’t, # 5 would be ‘Zone’ read or I’d have brain teasers, logic puzzles, coloring pages, etc. that students could pull out and work on for those 10 – 15 minutes before morning announcements started.Having this routine helped students be prepared for the day.
Tip #3: Have those sub plans ready
Have sub plans/a sub binder ready at all times! I don’t know about you, but I had plenty of times early on that I’d unexpectedly need to be out (sick child…or sick me!), and I’d be scrambling to write up plans and gather materials so my students could stay on track! At some point, I got smart and made sure I had generic plans written, with activities copied that could be used to review a variety of math concepts at any point during the year. These plans, along with my classroom routines, were always in a sub binder that a team teacher could pull off the shelf for the sub if I was out.
A Few More Classroom Tips for Teachers
Before you leave for the day, prepare your classroom for the next day. Straighten your desk, put the day’s teaching materials away, and take out the materials you’ll need for the next day. Get any technology ready and write anything on the board that will be needed the following day. I don’t know about you, but I’d often want to pack up and get moving at the end of the day, not taking the time to do this. However, when I prepped my environment, I was always happy (and relieved!) when I’d walk in the next day and find everything ready to go!
Tip #5: Be willing to wait
I’m a soft-spoken person and always have been. When it comes to classroom control/getting students’ attention when they’ve gotten a bit off track, I found that one of the best ways for me to get them to settle and give me their attention was to simply be quiet and wait.
- Sometimes I’d sit down and just watch them until one student and then another and another noticed my silent, expecting look, and they told each other to be quiet. And then we’d move on.
Be willing to wait for their attention.
Another important time to be willing to wait is when you ask students if they have any questions. Ask them and then wait. And wait some more. And maybe a little more. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for them to work up the courage to ask the question.
Take a moment to quickly connect with them as they come in. This quick check-in may give you a heads-up about how students are doing/feeling.
Tip #7: Give students time to talk
It’s so important to give students the chance to discuss, interact, and share ideas, so they aren’t just passively listening. I think this is especially important in math class, where those math conversations lead to deeper understanding, bigger questions, and new ideas. Different games and activities can provide this constructive talking time.
What tips for teachers do you have to share? I’d love to hear!