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Kalandra5th Kalandra5th is offline
 
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1st Year Teacher
Old 07-04-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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I am a first year teacher for the 2011-2012 School Year. I want to gain control of my classroom from day one, but still be fair, consistent, and successful in teaching. Any suggestions? I have read books, read/view different websites, but nothing is preparing me for what I will face the first day of school. I have dreamed of becoming a teacher and now that this first day is approaching, I am anxious and scared.


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Old 07-04-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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Hey,
I am in the same boat as you. First year teacher teaching 5th grade. I feel very prepared and have worked all summer on stuff. It will be neat to see how my ideas go down with students I have never met.
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practice, practice, practice
Old 07-04-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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You must have students practice what you expect from them. This will be my 10th year teaching and that is the biggest key I have found. I have taught 3rd grade and 5th grade and both ages must know what you expect and practice doing it the right way. You can NEVER spend too much time practicing routines and procedures.
Good Luck!
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Fifth graders are a great group
Old 07-05-2011, 03:43 AM
 
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They are still young enough to want to please the teacher, but old enough to be able to work independently!

Spend some time the first day getting to know each other. I have the students (I do it too) write 3 facts about themselves that they'd like to share on a piece of notebook paper and crumple it up. We spend 30 seconds having a "snowball fight" and toss the papers all over the room (the boys love this). Then we pick up the closest "snowball" and see if we can figure out who the 3 facts are about. It's a good icebreaker and an opportunity for me to see what the children consider to be important information about themselves.

I then put them in groups of 3 and ask them to make up 5 rules for our classroom, including what the consequences of breaking those rules should be. We list them all on the board (there are many repeats, as 5th graders generally know what's expected of them) and we narrow the list down by combining things that are similar. Once we get it down to 5 rules we all agree on, I write them on a Class Rules poster and have all the kids sign it. Giving them some ownership in the process makes them more likely to follow it.

Once you have your class rules, whether you tell them what they are or let them make them up, ENFORCE THEM consistently. You may feel like an overly strict teacher at first, but it takes the kids a little bit of time to rehearse your expectations and ingrain them. Don't back off - keep it strict. Don't be afraid to give consequences when earned - they need to know that you are serious and can't be taken advantage of.

We all feel pressured to "get everything in" but remember to have some fun as well. See what you can make a game out of or enhance with technology. I don't believe in trying to constantly entertain my students, but I do change it up so it's not a lecture/practice format every day.

Look confident, even if you don't feel it. Be consistent, even if it makes you feel like a mean teacher at times. Be flexible, take parent complaints and compliments with a grain of salt, and do the best you can. You'll learn from things that went well and things that didn't - make notes on your lesson plans about things that worked and things that didn't and why so you can tweak your plans the following year.

Good luck, and keep coming to PT for ideas!
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Put some bass in your voice
Old 07-05-2011, 05:10 AM
 
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...wear shoes that will boost your height (if you're shorter than your students) and don't let anyone get away with the smallest thing on the first day. Practice your "teacher look" and BELIEVE that you're in control even when you feel their eyes watching you. Be Fierce on the first day and practice those routines and procedures like a crazy woman. But seriously just relax and don't forget to breathe!


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First days as a new teacher
Old 07-05-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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over plan for the first week... have lots to do and work on smooth transitions. Then you can move from one activity to the next, looking cool and organized. Read the First 6 Weeks of School, even if you don't follow the plan in this book, there are lots of games and ideas for activities you can use. You can never have too many activities in your war chest!! They love games and it helps to set a tone for following directions, rules, and procedures.

Find a mentor at your school to review procedures with you. Every school is different and other teachers tend to forget to let you know the procedures like:

* How do students enter the building?
* Recess procedures - walk them to the playground, pick them up, how do they return, can they drink water in the hallway on the way back to class
* Lunch procedures
* Dismissal procedures
* Is there a first day assembly, where do you sit, how should the students sit, is there a specific order in which the classes enter the auditorium
* Hallway expectations - single, file line? No talking? Hands behind their back?

Talk to the 4th grade teacher(s), ask them which child is a good resource for you. I always have a couple of students to refer to for procedures - what did you do when you walked to lunch? What route did you take for going to the library?

Good luck... you'll be fine, it's better to be a little nervous and plan for the unexpected. You'll end up feeling much better about the day.
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firstyear1 firstyear1 is offline
 
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Be firm!
Old 07-05-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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This is my second year and I am still excited to go back. When I first taught last year I was so nervous OMG. I had all the things planned as to how I was gone to be. Needless to say it didnt go that way. I am pretty much a layed back person and wanted to be a little bit mean because it was my first year right? well I look back and say I did pretty good. I had 29 students and it was great. I had the best relationship with my students. The one thing I can say is I was firm and consistent. I said what I meant and meant what I said. Everyone kept telling me not to smile until after Christmas but I smiled everyday. I couldnt get the strict environment they encouraged me as a new teacher but I was always fair. For example you talk you pulled a card, you dont have that work turned in you dont participate in fun activites which we did on Friday. I called it fun friday. Every friday for 20 minutes at the the end of the day we did something. but to participate you had to follow the rules. I had parents there alot (for activities) and the ones who couldnt sat on the wall and watch. I didnt have an ounce of sympathy not even at Christmas! My kids new the rules and accepted the consequences. I didnt have alot of problems. And they knew i called parents regular basis to give general updates so that helped. So my advice is be fair and consistent. Congratulations on getting your job. I know exactly how you feel! Over joyed and excited!
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Congrats! Breathe- you'll be FANTASTIC :)
Old 07-05-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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I think nothing prepares you for teaching like teaching itself.

5 most important things (in my opinion):

1. Have clear classroom rules/ procedures- practice, practice, practice these and be
consistent in their uses!
2. Be organized, but stay flexible (prepare lesson plans 2 weeks out at least, have a place
for everything, and keep everything in its place. Just like the students we teach,
teachers sometimes make mistakes or need to change- reflect, learn, make the
change, move on. Districts also have a way of sometimes doing things last minute- be
ready)
3. Know your curriculum (study your standards and read your TEs, next Summer and each
Summer engage in Prof. Development.)
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help (find a mentor/ master teacher if one is not assigned to
you)
5. Borrow and Make it your own (Don't waste time trying to reinvent the wheel!)

If you haven't read Dr. Harry Wong's First Days of School- check it out. You may also want to look at teachers.net, a website dedicated to classroom management and procedures, if you haven't done so already.

Other pointers: Try to have your grade book ready for the year (if it's paper), plan for at least 2 weeks- you can adjust these as needed (find out if your district has focus calendars or take a REALLY close look at your state standards and the CCSS), don't worry about having EVERYTHING on the walls/bulletin boards- this is usually an ongoing project completed/ changed throughout the year- just make sure you have your rules/ procedures posted and anything else that will be used for the ENTIRE school year. Find out about your State's Testing- when does it occur? are item specs available? what are student tested on? (Again, find a mentor or master teacher- I can't stress enough how invaluable colleagues are- they may even have beginning of year, classroom management, test prep materials, etc. that you can "borrow" that work well with your school climate/ programs)

This school year was my 5th year of teaching and I've learned SO much every year- it's necessary to continue to grow as a professional. You WILL survive the first year and every year you choose to continue embracing teaching as a profession. Each year you'll find that you become more masterful at the craft of changing and touching lives through education. YOU CAN DO IT!
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Congrats!!
Old 07-05-2011, 11:04 PM
 
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I just finished my first year of teaching, and I really loved every bit of it.
First I would say is make sure that you connect with your students, and really get to know them. Let each child know that you are happy that they are there, and they are vital to the classroom.

I would also have your rules and expectations and stick with them. It is rough at times, but they like to know what they can or cannot get away with. This was not easy for me to do, for a couple of reasons that I will not get into lol. What worked for me was having a conversation with the kids that was very candid. It was just before Christmas break, and things were going out of control. So we had a conversation of what was and was not working. The kids loved that I talked to them as if they were adults, and that I valued their opinion.

Just take it a day at a time and be flexiable. Try to enjoy every moment of it! Get a mentor teacher that you can ask all your questions to, and remember your P knows that it is your first year. S/he hopefully is putting that into their expectations as well.
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New to 5th grade, too
Old 07-06-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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I've taught for 11 yrs, but this will be my first year teaching 5th grade. What exactly have you been working on this summer to prepare for your move to 5th? I'd love to hear about it!


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4th year in and...
Old 07-10-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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I still feel like a new teacher. I like that feeling because every year is different. My first day/week observations & tips:

1. They will be like little angels for the most part on the first day or 2.

2. My room is mostly bare because I want my students to build the classroom with me.

3. Teach from the moment you see them. My first lessons are what a line looks like & how I want to see them walk through the halls.

4. Speak, look, feel & act like you are in control. Teaching is a complicated art form with similarities to theatre acting. Fake it!

5. Don't let any misbehaviors slip at all. Most importantly be consistent. Have a reasonable prepared consequence for any extreme discipline issues (also ask your principal & fellow teachers for suggestions)

6. Plan for community building activities, share a favorite read aloud book, allow for independent reading & writing (walk around and meet with everyone to informally assess)

7. Before hand write out every procedure you have in your class, note what it will look & sound like as well as what it will not look like. Start practicing on day 1 & practice until your hair falls out. Don't be upset/shocked/saddened if it takes longer than you expect.

8. Your students want to know you, like you, do well for you, and still - want - boundaries. Always keep that in the back of your mind!

Lastly, have fun. If you don't, there's no use in doing it.
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