Showing Appreciation to Fellow Teachers

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Teachers know better than anyone how nice it feels to receive gifts of appreciation.  Throughout each school year, teachers receive cards or gifts from students and their families; but how often do teachers show appreciation for one another?  The opportunities are certainly there.  It would seem that an environment in which team teachers and coworkers take these opportunities would actually be an environment where morale is high and productivity soars.

If you have worked with, or continually work with, any teacher or even office staff that goes out of their way to provide assistance to you, your students, or other people, you have the opportunity to show appreciation.  And hence, you have the opportunity to encourage this person and brighten their day.  Here are a few ways you can show that you appreciate the job someone else is doing.

  • ID badge lanyards are highly used in school settings, and therefore make ideal gifts for any teacher or school employee.  Most of the time, teachers wear ID badge lanyards that were either given to them by the school office or that they picked up at an educational conference.  This means they probably lack that certain panache that adds polish to work attire.

When you want to offer a special gift to someone at your school, consider the lanyard.  Today, ID badge lanyards are available in many different styles and themes that teachers love.  Providing all the same convenience for carrying keys or badges, lanyards today can also look very polished and professional.

  • When you work closely with someone, you can get to know their likes and dislikes.  Perhaps you know of a special hobby or interest a fellow teacher has.  This makes giving them a small gift easier; as you can tailor it to their personal interests.
  • Teachers can always use helping hands, as you are well aware.  Showing appreciation for a fellow teacher doesn’t have to be done with gifts that you purchase; it could be done by helping them where you can.   Perhaps you can take their lunch duty for a day to give them time away.  Acts of service are kind and thoughtful.  There are many ways you can provide service to a fellow teacher that won’t interfere with your own duties.  This is a gift that costs nothing and leaves you both feeling great.
  • Another gift that costs nothing is that of a note.  Teachers like to hear that they have done well at something; we all do.  If you know another teacher who has gone out of their way, taught you something, inspired you or somehow helped you, tell them.  It doesn’t get any simpler than that!  Keep blank note cards in your desk so you can write notes to others when the opportunity arises.  It pays to just say thanks.

Receiving accolades from peers is a high honor that professionals love to be treated to.  In the school setting, there is no need to leave the praise to students and families.  Teachers can and should take it upon themselves to continually life one another up and encourage those around them.  Doing so can only result in a more positive environment.


Plan Ahead to Successfully Host a Substitute Teacher

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Most teachers know what it feels like to substitute in a classroom in which they are unfamiliar.  To add a little excitement into the mix of a sub day, kids, when they realize their regular teacher is not present, may be under the impression that their workload will be light and they will not have to pay attention.  There are several steps you can take to ensure any substitute teacher that enters into your classroom is left with a good impression of your class and a good feeling about your direction.

  1. Planning ahead makes everything about an absence run more smoothly.   One part of planning ahead is to simply have an organized classroom.  This is something that will benefit you and your students every day; and provide a good experience for a substitute.  Have places for all tools and papers; and prepare lesson plans in advance so neither you nor your sub will have to scramble when you need to be out for a day or longer.
  2. Preparing your students with expectations of how they should behave in your absence will ensure that they do not assume they can “get away” with less than respectful behavior while you are away.  Talk to students well in advance about how they are to behave in the classroom; and take the opportunity to point out to them that they are to behave this way regardless of whether you are teaching them or they are taking instruction from another teacher.  Explaining to students that they need to make a good impression of who they are and how they have been taught by you is a good way to hand them responsibility for their actions in the classroom.
  3. Ribbon lanyards come in handy in any classroom and provide convenience for teachers and students.  The way ribbon lanyards can help in the instance of a substitute teaching situation is that classroom keys can be easily seen and kept track of.  Additionally, when bathroom passes or keys are kept on ribbon lanyards at all times, both teachers and students can easily find these items quickly and without interrupting valuable time.  You could even leave an extra decorative lanyard on your desk for your substitute teacher as a thank you gift for handling your class so well.  A little appreciation can make a teacher’s day!
  4. Giving substitute teachers a head’s up as to what can be expected will help their day run more smoothly – and help your students stay on track.  You know your students better than any other school personnel.  Leave a note for a substitute with the name of a student or students they can call on for extra help throughout the day.  If there are particular students who require extra guidance or management, place their names on the list and what usually works with these students.  Also put the name of a nearby teacher who can be called upon for help if needed.  This should be prearranged with that teacher.

The better prepared a substitute is to fill in for you; the better everyone’s day goes.  The amount of success they experience is largely due to the information you leave for them.  By preparing as much information ahead of time as possible, you can ensure a successful substitute day.

Teachers and Time Management

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Teachers are in the position where they have to fit a lot of tasks and materials into each day. They must stay on track while still ensuring that their students retain the information being taught. All in all, without proper time management, a teacher can quickly become overwhelmed by the stresses of the job. If you want to give your best to your occupation, do what it takes to become very effective with your time management. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Use the resources available to you. If there is something new you would like to introduce to your classroom; chances are you are not the first. Talk to other teachers you know and tell them about your ideas. This is a great way to find out if others have done the same thing. You may find that you come away with several tips on how to complete your project or plan successfully.

Making lists cannot be overstated when it comes to time management. Everyone in any occupation (and even at home) can benefit immensely from itemizing the tasks that they wish to accomplish each day. Some teachers recommend creating the habit of making 3 goals each day. When you have your list of tasks you need to accomplish, prioritize them; placing your biggest task first. By accomplishing your most dreaded goal first thing in the day, everything else looks easy!

Distractions are huge time stealers. This can be the parent who loves to chat or the colleague who loves to pick your brain. The best way to tackle these types of distractions is to listen for a few minutes (you never want to be rude) and then explain that you would love to hear more, but have work that you need to get back to. During times when you are pressed to accomplish a task, it may be necessary to lock your door and put out a nicely stated “do not disturb” sign.

Sometimes it is necessary to actually remove yourself from your normal environment in order to accomplish tasks in a shorter amount of time. This may mean that you head to the library on to grade papers so the football game blaring on the television does not keep you from focusing 100%. It may mean that you leave campus to grade papers if your attention is constantly diverted in this setting.

The times that are allotted for breaks should be used as such. Many teachers feel that they will get more done if they work through their lunch break. However, by taking time away from work and even away from campus (depending on how much time you are given) can renew your energy to such a degree that you accomplish more when you return.

Likewise, time at home should be for you and your family. If family responsibilities and chores are overwhelming, delegate them to those who share your home. Explain that their help is necessary and use the saved time to do something fun together. This helps you unwind and keeps you from forgetting to focus a little on yourself.

Controlling Your Classroom III

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In this final installment of controlling your classroom, you will see more suggestions of dealing with bad behavior in your classroom. The previous editions covered everything from dictators to bullies but no amount of literature can prepare you for such events until they happen. Never be afraid to ask for advice from more experienced teachers too. In a well run school, the teachers should constantly be there for one another.

We all know the situation: one student interrupts either you or another student, and then someone else joins in. Before you know it, the whole class is in uproar and it is up to you to restore order. When such a situation occurs, stamp your authority on proceedings by telling everyone that they need to wait their turn before they speak. Tell them to come up with ideas to either build on. Don’t allow anyone to speak unless they put up their hand, it’s important to teach your class to be polite.

You may have to deal with pupils that try and disrupt the class through non-verbal means. They sit in their chair and use body language in a negative manner or they roll their eyes as you speak. The first thing you can do to counteract this is to completely ignore them, focusing on the student that is speaking. Alternatively, you could challenge their behavior and ask if they have something important they would like to share with the class. This places the emphasis on them and they will not enjoy having the spotlight shone firmly on them.

No list of disruptors would be complete without the student who continuously interrupts everyone else. Instant action is needed, so tell them to be silent until the speaker has concluded their statement. After classes, take them aside and explain how their behavior is unacceptable and it needs to stop. Advise them to take a sheet of paper and a pen and write down all their ideas. When the person has stopped speaking, they can then tell the class what it is they’re thinking. This is an excellent skill and one that will serve them well in later life.

Finally, we have the famous ‘teacher’s pet’. Even though there are sure to be students who you have taken a shine to because of their work ethic and high standards, you must be seen not to have favorites. You will also be helping them because ‘teacher’s pets’ are prime targets for bullies. Don’t make eye contact when they try and grab your attention in class and ensure that you never single them out for praise on a consistent basis.

So there we have it. It is a good starting point for those who have set out on the teaching road. Remember, the majority of students will respect you and the ones that try and act out can be dealt with comfortably by following  school guidelines, your own experiences and some of the tips given here..   Teaching comes with many challenges but also many, many rewards Those rewards are the difference you know you’ve made in the lives of the children you’ve given your best to and sent out to tackle the next subject or even the world!

Controlling Your Classroom II

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A good teacher has to be something of a diplomat. We looked at dealing with students who tried to undermine you, bullies and aggressive students. The bottom line is that you are charged with making sure your pupils learn and are ready for the world and if you cannot deal with unruly aspects then you are making things harder for you and your students.

You may occasionally encounter pupils that think they are in charge of the class. They will order the rest of the class around with no regard for your authority whatsoever. You need to nip this behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand. Tell them that they are a dictator and get them to rephrase this statement in the first person. Turn the class against them but involving them in the process. Soon, the dictator will realize that no one is following them and will fall back into line. This shows the class that you are the only one in charge.

It is a frustrating experience when you have a student that does not appear to be trying their best. Admittedly, there are many pupils who are not interested in a particular subject but they at least make an attempt to hide it and even to learn. Those who openly look bored and are no paying attention need to be dealt with. Otherwise, other students will see that the lazy pupil is getting away with doing nothing and follow suit. Ask them a question, then swiftly ask someone else to let them off for now. You don’t want to humiliate them after all. Take them aside after class and try to find out why they are not getting involved in class.

Then you have the moaner. These are students whose only participation in class involves them complaining either about the subject or the way it’s being taught. They never have anything positive to say and they try to bring down the collective mood of the classroom. To deal with this, ask that student to write down their complaints and promise that they will be looked at in the next class. Ask them to come up with a solution and paraphrase their negative comments. Depending on how you paraphrase, the sheer negativity of the statement may shock the student into mending their ways.

It is certainly a test of your patience when a student saunters into the class twenty minutes late. By this stage, you have got into something of a rhythm with your lesson and this tardy individual brings your momentum crashing to a halt. Although you would love to halt the entire class and show up the latecomer, it is best to wait until afterwards so that you can get straight back into teaching. Deal with the issue after class and always start your teaching at the correct time regardless of who is missing. It is their responsibility to be on time, not yours. If you really want to instill some punctuality into them, maybe you could make them the leader of the class so that they have to be there on time. Then again, you could always threaten to punish the whole group for this individual’s tardiness. Having their class against them will soon make them mend their ways.

Even though the vast majority of your class will make your job a pleasure, there will always be one or two that will try and disrupt the harmony of your class but a good teacher will find a way to deal with everything. The next article will look at further ways and means of dealing with troublesome students, so if you have no knowledge when it comes to sorting out tricky classroom situations, then you need to read on.

Controlling Your Classroom I

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As a teacher, there will be occasions when you will need to lay down the law and remind your students that you are in charge. The last thing you need is a bunch of unruly students who refuse to pay attention in class and try to disrupt your lessons by encouraging others to join in. Difficult students come and go and over time you will learn how to deal with them. These next few articles will take a look at the variety of ways a pupil can hinder your teaching and will also suggest ways to combat these hindrances.

Prudent teachers will start the school year by talking to their students about class rules. You should have a list of regulations written down before discussing each of them in turn with your class. Next, you should get the class to come up with some rules of their own and also make them aware of what the punishment will be for breaking them. Straight away, your class will be aware that you are a no-nonsense teacher who will not be lenient on those who transgress. But by allowing the students a little leeway to create some of their own rules (within reason), they will also see you as a fair-minded individual and are more likely to followed the rules that have been set.

You will probably have at least one student in your lifetime of teaching who thinks they are more intelligent than you and will attempt to advise you on what you should be doing. This arrogance is disrespectful and will undermine your authority if you allow it to continue. How to handle this is delicate and it’s impossible to give pat suggestions on what to do. There are courses available covering this and it would be beneficial to take one.

Then there are argumentative students who will disrupt class anyway they can to get attention. Remaining calm is the best course of action.  Getting actively involved in any dialog will only cause the problem to escalate.. There isn’t anyone that can give you the perfect answer to handling unruly or rude students.  Each incident is unique. Your personality, experience with children and the personality of the student will all play into how it all plays out.  Patience is a key and, courses available on this would be helpful.

Classroom bullies are a challenge. They are doing their best to take attention away from you and shine the light on themselves.  They are stealing valuable time away from each and every student that is there to learn. You need to maintain your position of authority informing the bully that their behavior will not be tolerated. School guidelines and policies will be a first course of action, but if the bully is “seasoned” and depending on the age and aggression of the bullying student you may need to seek assistance from your principal. If this does not help, alert their parents and set up a meeting with them to discuss the problem.

While you can have students who just don’t want to learn, you can counteract most of their bad behavior in your classroom much easier than you think. You are the one in control and at the end of the day; your class needs to respect you if you are to do your job. The following articles will have more examples of poor student behavior and suggestions as to how you can win the battle.

Make A Difference, Become A Teacher

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It should be the goal of every school system to have their schools full of great teachers because they genuinely make a difference to their student’s lives. Far too many people ignore the role that teachers play in their pupil’s lives. Some see them as people who are paid to ensure that children learn whatever the educational system deems fit. This is a very narrow view as it does not take into account the positive influence a teacher has on the lives of young children and adolescents. After all, the teacher is the person that a child will see most besides their parents and in some instances the teacher spends as much time with their students as the child’s parents.

Education boards continuously look at a whole range of things that need to be improved in order to bring school standards up to a certain level. They look at the quality of the facilities available and the standard of the school building. The size of classrooms, general equipment and pupil to teacher ratio are also looked at. While all these are important, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the teachers themselves. The single most vital elements in any school are the educators!
Good teachers will completely change the lives of their pupils and if you feel like you are up to the task then all you have to do is ask yourself if you have what it takes. The best teachers know that their profession is all about giving. If students don’t want to learn, it is your job to find ways to get them involved in class activities. If your pupils aren’t learning then what you’re doing cannot be described as teaching. Even though students may not know that they have a great teacher, their parents probably will when their child comes home and proceeds to tell them everything they learned that day in class.

If you want to be a great teacher but feel that you don’t have the experience, fear not. Although having experience can be absolutely vital in certain situations, teacher’s training programs have advanced to the point where they are now an integral part of the life of anyone who wants to become a teacher. While there is no magic formula that will automatically turn you into a good teacher, these programs will certainly equip you with many of the tools you need to be a roaring success. Such programs are not just boring lectures of limited benefit. They provide hands on assistance where you will learn from the experiences of those already in the teaching profession.

If you love the idea of teaching but are unsure where to start, have a look at the programs available. Education boards know that the quality of the teacher is the most important part of any school and have come up with fantastic programs that will ready you for the classroom. Rather than wonder what you could be, become a great teacher and see that you can really make a difference.

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