Why should teachers have students practice routines? If you have ever had the chance to observe kindergarten, especially at the beginning of the year, you may see a lot of repetition of directions. Kindergarten teachers know that their students need to practice basic skills a lot: sitting in their seats, moving to the carpet, raising their hands to talk, sharpening pencils, lining up... you name it. Kindergarten teachers are pros at establishing routines.
Routines should be established and built in all levels of teaching. It is important for teachers to set these expectations and practice them with their students, even with older grades and students in secondary schools.
In this TED Talk, How To Use A Paper Towel, Joe Smith teaches adults how to help the environment by using paper towels more effectively. Watch the video and see what techniques he uses to help his audience remember the directions.
When we give directions, we should try to follow these basic ideas:
Get the student's attention and make sure you have it!
Give clear, positive directions with high expectations.
Limit the number of directions and steps to the directions.
Vary the way directions are given (teacher modeled, student modeled, using phrases like, "When I say go...", students repeating directions).
Be consistent and follow through.
Give students time to process.
Repeat directions if needed.
If you find you are struggling to have students follow directions or they struggle to do routine tasks, try using some of these ideas to help your students remember the routines and procedures for your classroom. It is never to late to polish up routines and procedures to help students be successful!
Isn't summer wonderful? Sleeping in, re-acquainting with long lost family members, sipping iced beverages pool side, and attending professional development. Does one of these things not look like the others? Although the professional development may not be what some teachers might consider a highlight of summer, those who know actually look forward to the opportunity to learn ways to improve professionally. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The summer is where many of the solutions to problems of the previous school year are found and many of the potential problems of the next school year are prevented. There are many places to look for opportunities. A good place to start is at the USBE website with MIDAS. Summers off? Sort of.
The school year is winding down, summer is highly anticipated, and educators are experiencing reflection and
desiring rejuvenation. Here are a few suggestions to make this process purposeful and successful.
What was meaningful for you this past year? Did something make you happy, or satisfied? Look back in your planning book or journal and decide what you want to keep or enhance.
What enthused students the most? When were they the most creative or successful?
What did you do to make a difference in students lives? Look at thank you notes written by parents, colleagues, principals and especially students to validate your efforts. How can you continue to make a unique difference in the lives of your students? (Keep a yearly file of special notes given to you, this becomes a “happy place.”)
Take care of your body through purposeful diet and exercise, and get restful sleep. Teaching is a physically demanding occupation, taking care of your physical self is crucial.
Your mental and emotional self needs down-time too. There are several things that can help you destress such as yoga, meditation, and the outdoors. Do what works for you.
Refocus on the positives of the job to create anticipation for the upcoming year, this will help you come backrenewed and refreshed.
References Knight, S., EdD. (2017). The Heart of a Teacher:6 Ways to Refresh, Refocus and Rejuvenate [Web log post]. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from https://www.gcu.edu
When provisional teachers obtain their Level 2 license, many ask a similar question. “I have my Level 2, now what should I do?” As lifelong learners, it is important to continue seeking opportunities to grow.
There are various ways to continue learning once you have upgraded to a professional license. Here are some ideas:
Endorsements: Jordan District offers many endorsement opportunities such as: ESL, Reading, Math, Technology, Gifted and Talented. In addition to providing new skills and strategies to use in your classroom, credits earned from endorsement classes can be used to increase your step on the pay scale! Also, some endorsement credit hours can be used towards a Master’s Degree at local universities.
Mentor Training: Have you felt a desire to help new teachers? Our district provides mentor training every year to help teachers be prepared to help mentor new teachers to our buildings. These classes are typically offered in the fall, and you can register on JPLS. Mentoring is a great way to build relationships with other teachers, as well as provide yourself opportunities to reflect. If your administrator assigns you to mentor a provisional teacher, you will be paid for your services!
National Board Certification: Have you wanted to push your teaching to a new level? National Board Certification is a rigorous program that helps you reflect on your teaching practice and pushes you toward recognizing how your efforts impact student learning. Through writing, video, and reflection, you spend one to three years working to earn this honor. The district also provides a stipend to National Board Teachers of $2400 a year, and you can apply for an extra stipend with the state office if you are a classroom teacher. To learn more about the process, check out their website: https://www.nbpts.org/
Fellowships and Leadership Opportunities: There are groups that provide leadership opportunities and chances to advocate for teachers on a state or national level. UT Teacher Fellows is one group that works to build relationships with stakeholders and helps collect information from teachers on issues impacting our state for USBE. They accept new applications every two years (and are currently accepting applications right now). To learn more about this program, check out their site: https://hopestreetgroup.org/teacher-fellows/utteacherfellows/
We have made it to Spring Break! We hope that you take time to relax and enjoy your time off from work. Here are some fun ideas of things to do or places to visit that might help you to rejuvenate:
Go walking in a park
Go on a hike
Take a bicycle ride
Visit a museum
Take a nap
Visit a library & check out a book for fun
Invite guests for the first BBQ of the season
Prep the soil for your flowers/garden
I teach because I love helping students enjoy learning.I had science teachers who made science seem like a horrible chore that has to be done. This is so wrong!
Science is amazing and kids are born with a love of learning why things work the way they do. These kids need to see that life experience is enjoyable. That work is not a painful thing. That doing hard things are rewarding and that there is so much to enjoy.
I had such a horrible 8th grade year when I was a teenager that I feel it is my duty to help them be able to look back on 8th grade and remember it with positive feelings.
It is one of the hardest times developmentally and I want them to have positive memories of it.
I want my class to be fun, educational, and a place where they know they have someone on their side. That is why I teach, to help my students love life and see the awe in all the amazing things around them!
As Dr. Seuss said...
Now, I may not be a LORAX trying to save all the TRUFFALA TREES, but I sure love and care about my students just as much. I want to give each kid their best shot at life.
Growing up, I had teachers who loved me for the little weirdo that I was, and I strive to also love those unique qualities in my own students.
These kids are the reason why I love teaching and the reason why teaching is both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. This job sure comes with a lot of highs and lows, but these kids bring me joy by the dozens.
There is nothing quite like getting to see the joy and triumph in a student who has finally conquered a daunting challenge or who’s creativity and curiosity is bursting. These kids have sure taught me more than I’ve taught them. Their love for life is truly infectious, and getting to be a part of that is why I love teaching.
I love teaching because I love the students I work with. I look forward to coming to work everyday.
I am so lucky, because not only do I get to teach amazing high school students, but I also get to spend 2 1/2 hours of my day with the preschool children. Those 4 and 5 year olds can always put a smile on my face.
I absolutely love watching them grow and develop, but more importantly, I love watching the high school students grow and develop, as they plan their lessons and work with these 4 and 5 year olds every day throughout the year.
The high school students care so much about those preschoolers. I love watching the connections that they make with them. My job is definitely fulfilling!
I also love teaching my child development classes. I feel that everyone needs to understand how children grow and develop. We have a great time together throughout the semester.
I couldn't ask for a better job!
As I prepare to retire this year after 30 years of teaching, I have reflected a lot on what I 30 years about teaching. Topping the list, of course, is children. That is the reason I entered the field. I have always loved children. Life is so much more enjoyable and “real” when children are a part of it. I love learning with them and helping them to learn.
I love that in Elementary School we teach all of the subjects to children. I feel often that we “open the world” to them—the World of Reading and Writing, the World of Mathematics, the World of Science and Social Studies and History, the World of Arts and Music, etc.
I even love that we can help them solve problems such as social and study problems.
We can help them become more prepared to live in our world successfully. I had the special opportunity to teach Chinese for six years.
I get chills when I think about what those students might do for our world.
I hope that with all the students I have taught that they have learned about many things and have loved learning. Mostly I hope that just perhaps I have taught them as much as I have learned from them over the years. They will forever be in my heart!
When my students come to my class, I may be the first smile they see each day, the first how was your evening, and the first I missed you while you were out.
My students come to class with the knowledge that they have a safe haven to learn and grow in. We laugh, we care and we cry together. We succeed and we fail together because that's what you do as a teacher.
Not only am I teaching my students, but they are also teaching me on a daily basis.
These kids are the future and I am proud that I get to be a part of creating that.
Therefore, to answer the question, I love teaching because I am molding good, kind and smart kids into the type of citizens we hope to see in this world.
I love teaching because I am lucky enough to show my students that people care and want to see them excel in life.
Love: when I hear the word, I dive toward memories that brought me joy, strung together like so many glittering pearls: thank-yous and lightbulb moments, challenges that made way for achievements. But then I check myself because love isn't always pretty. Love is gritty.
I love the sand before it shimmers. I take each grain and work at it with hope, adding love layer by layer, trusting that it will one day be pried from the darkness to shine in the light, invaluable.
I see the shape of clay before it is sculpted and love it in its incompleteness. I love each gray rock to its inscrutable core, its iridescent future in my mind's eye, and tumble it to see it glimmer.
I gather what others may pass by, taking each abrasive grain, each wet mound of clay, each raw geode, and loving it into something more.
Love is not the gems with which I am paid, to string along my neck as tokens of my dedication, but the tool with which I ply my trade. What I love about teaching is that teaching is love, dirt and all.
Lindsay Blowers Sunset Ridge Middle • Language Arts • 7th grade
I remember the first time I cried at school. I had a 2nd grade boy, who absolutely hated to read. You could put a single simple sentence out and watch him just melt, sinking lower and lower into the seat until my poor little snowman was a puddle on the desk.
It was the beginning of the new year and I had spent winter break devising strategies for my kid. I put a piece of paper in front of him with the longest (3 paragraphs, one page, no pictures) assignment I had ever given him.
The paper hadn’t been down on the desk for more than a couple heartbeats and he was already melting like an ice cube in the sun. I handed him a highlighter and covered up everything except the line we were using.
Together, we went through and found all of the sight words he had mastered (and added a few others he was able to sound out). When we were done, I pulled off the blinders and he stared at all of the yellows on the page.
Mandy Gomez Special Education Teacher Grades: 4th - 6th Columbia Elementary School“I guess I can read this,” he commented.Then. He. Did. When he was done, he looked at me with the most confident smile I had ever seen in my life.
Mrs. Sabrina Davitt Columbia Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher
Teaching children is something I believe I was born to do.
Knowing that I am teaching the next generation gives me such joy. I feel in my element when I am in the classroom surrounded by my amazing classroom family.
Our future will be in their hands one day, but for now, their future is in my hands. What will I choose to do with that great responsibility?
This question is one that I ponder frequently. I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in a child’s life. By doing this I can, in a way, make a positive difference in our future.
Every day I greet each student at my door with a smile and a greeting of their choice. This is my opportunity to look each student in the eye before the day begins and check how they are doing. This is one of my favorite parts of the day.
I believe every child matters and they should feel like they matter as well. I am so lucky to have this opportunity in my life to impact their lives, hopefully for the better.
Seeing a child light up with joy and excitement when they learn something new keeps me going through the ups and downs of teaching.
Teaching can be very stressful, however, by just taking the time each day to stop and look for the good things that happen make it definitely worth it.
Knowing that I made a difference in a child’s life, even just the smallest difference, is very rewarding. This difference could affect this child’s entire life for the better. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?
I know that being in an elementary classroom is where I am supposed to be. It is how I am supposed to make a difference in the world. One child at a time!
"In my world there are NO BAD KIDS, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with EMOTIONS & IMPULSES, trying to communicate their FEELINGS & NEEDS the only way they know how" -Janet Lansbury
Sharon Rinehart Welby Elementary • 6th gradeI love to teach for two reasons. First of all, I love the "ah ha" moment. There is nothing more satisfying and exciting as when a student, who has been struggling, finally gets a concept. I can almost see the little lightbulb being turned on in their brains as they get it. I also love to teach because I love to learn. As a teacher I get to be continually learning. I also like to try to inspire the love of learning in my students.
What I LOVE most about teaching is the connection you make with people. As a teacher, I am privileged to work alongside other teachers, staff, students, and parents on a daily basis.
I truly LOVE learning about my students, as little human beings, while I teach them all day. We laugh, have fun, cheer each other on, and comfort each other. All those moments, compiled together, create a unique bond that helps kids, and their teacher, feel loved.
I also LOVE the school community at Butterfield Canyon. My coworkers are not just my colleagues, they are my mentors, my friends and my family. We help and encourage each other daily, and do “life” together!
The parents of my students are not just parents. They become partners in advocating for their child’s well-being and educational success. Sometimes, they’ll sit next to me at my son’s ball game or my daughter’s dance competition and cheer them on too, even though their own child is on the opposing team.
And if you are lucky like me, a parent of one of your students, becomes a best friend because you’ve worked so closely with them all year long to ensure their child’s wellness and progress during a difficult season.
I LOVE my job and the opportunity it allows me to form lasting relationships and connect with people! I will admit, wholeheartedly, that some days are hard and I cry, but it’s all worth it in the end!
I have the best career in the world! I get to solve riddles and puzzles all day long!
I am given pieces of many different puzzles at the beginning of each year. Daily, I get to figure out clues in order to know where each piece should go and how many to add in order to complete them.
If I am successful, I get the results of well-adjusted, happy, and successful leaders. I am challenged every day because no two puzzles are the same.
There is absolutely no greater joy in the world than solving a tough problem and I get to have that feeling every day.
Natalie Newbold Terra Linda Elementary 3rd Grade
I get to see the light in my students’ eyes. I get to be taught alongside my students.
I get to see future brain surgeons, lawyers, politicians and many other careers that have yet to be invented, sitting in those seats.
I have the privilege of leaving each night knowing that I have played a role in their future successes.
That is why I am passionate and truly love to teach.
Her parents understood her seemingly innate desire to teach and provided her with a small table and two blue metal folding chairs, in the same scale. Her older brother had made her a large bulletin board of cork and trimmed the edges with oak wood. It was mounted on the wall of their basement in her special spot that had become her classroom.
On the bulletin board were assignments and pictures made by her “class,” and only the best papers got shiny gold stickers (the kind you had to lick). Sometimes the neighbor kids played school with her, but she always insisted on being the teacher. She knew the other kids just wouldn’t do it right. And yes, eventually that little girl did grow up to be a teacher.
When I think about why I am a teacher, my thoughts go back to when I was that little girl playing school in the basement. Back then, if you would have asked me why I wanted to be a teacher, I probably would have replied, “Because it’s fun.” Yes, then it was all fun and games, and now it is still fun, but also a lot of hard work. And now, I have many more reasons for why I want to be a teacher.
Lorene Fullmer Second Grade Copper Canyon Elementary
I am a teacher because I can’t imagine being anything else. Like many other teachers, I feel “called” to this profession. It isn’t just a job to me, but something that I was meant to do. I’m a teacher because I feel like I make a difference in the world.
As a teacher of young children, I know that when I teach them to read, I’m giving them a skill they will use for their entire life. When a student has a troubled home life, I may be one of the only people they can consistently count on to be there for them. I am a teacher because I love children and I love seeing the struggle that eventually turns into accomplishment.
I love seeing them learn and grow, inside and out, during the school year. I love that I also learn new things every day. I learn from the children as much as they learn from me. I am a teacher because teaching is one of the most creative jobs you can have. If you like to craft, write, draw, sing or invent, it’s all there in a teacher’s day.
We are continually trying to do better and thinking of ways to make lessons more interesting and more memorable. However, even though something is right, it doesn’t mean it is easy.
Being a teacher is hard, and there are some days I wonder why I am doing this. Then a student gives me a hug and says, “I love you. You’re the best teacher ever.” And I know that I made a difference in at least one child’s day, just as they did in mine. Tomorrow is always another day and a new beginning.
Remember that you are a role model and that your actions speak louder than your words.
Be an excellent classroom manager.
Treat all students with dignity and know how to diffuse almost any situation.
Teach enthusiastically even when you don’t feel like it.
Relate all lessons to real life.
What does an effective teacher’s classroom look like?
-There is little or no down-time. -Procedures and routines are evident and consistent. -The teacher’s rapport with students is evident. -The classroom is well organized. -The teacher is well prepared for each lesson. -The lessons relate to real life and are student-oriented. -Transitions are smooth. -Teacher moves around the classroom frequently. -Incorrect responses from students are dignified by the teacher. -Teacher models skills for students. -The students are actively involved in all lessons. -The atmosphere is comfortable and pleasant with lots of smiles and encouragement.
As a bonus… here are a few tricks for avoiding discipline problems:
Greeting students daily with enthusiasm.
Maintaining a calm, composed, professional demeanor at all times regardless of a student’s demeanor.
Avoiding negatives whenever possible.
Keeping students busy from bell to bell.
“We have to believe that all children are both reachable and teachable and that we, as teachers, truly can make a difference in their lives”.
Resource: Annette L. Breaux - For information on Annette’s books, go to www.eyeoneducation.com
After returning from Holiday Break your students will benefit from reviewing your classroom management expectations. Here are a few ideas and reminders to help your classroom start 2019 on the right foot!
Review classroom rules and practice procedures. Students will need to be re-taught what is expected.
Circulate among the kids. It allows you to give immediate reinforcement or corrective feedback.
Deliver high rates of reinforcement. Pro-tip #1 -Talk about the good behavior and say individual students’ names when praising.
-Make sure to provide examples and non-examples of desired behaviors (but don’t use students’ names when giving non-examples). -Remember 6:1 ratio of positive reinforcement to correction!
Give an attention cue before giving instructions.
Use road mapping before starting a lesson or activity. It creates predictability and it is an antecedent to compliance. Pro-tip #2 -Try using language such as “first we’ll do this… then we’ll do this.”
Have materials ready to go before calling students to groups. Down-time can lead to behavior disruptions!
Get creative about reinforcers. Watch and listen… students will show you what they want to earn. Pro-tip #3
-Remember the basics of reinforcement are (IFEED-AV): Immediate, Frequent, Enthusiastic, Eye contact, Describe the Behavior, Build Anticipation, and Variety
Information from Melisa Genaux, Autism Specialist, Jordan School District