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First year teaching and OVERWHELMED is an understatement!

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PrimaryTeach8 PrimaryTeach8 is online now
 
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PrimaryTeach8
 
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First year teaching and OVERWHELMED is an understatement!
Old 06-11-2019, 02:25 PM
 
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Hey everyone! This will be my first year teacher. I LOVE the primary grades, especially 1st grade. But it's June and I had nothing lined up and didn't want to sub anymore so I took a 4th grade position I was offered. Accepting this job pays for me to afford to get my Master's (and they pay for some of it) It also gets me teaching experience. None of the good schools in my area will hire me because I have no experience. Thinking of those cute little first graders is gonna hopefully get me through this. I did my student teaching in 4th grade and it was horrible! I can't relate to 4th graders at all. I'm very overwhelmed and stressed! I need some tips. First off, can you have a theme in your classroom in 4th grade? Should you have a theme or will they laugh at it?

I saw some really cute camping themes, but I'm scared they'll laugh at it. I don't know, I literally can't relate to 4th graders. For my management system, I tried ClassDojo in my student teaching. Works well with the younger ones. Did not work well for 4th grade. I now use an economy management system that I saw worked well in a 3rd grade classroom. Students can earn dollars or tickets (Which one would you use for 4th? So many decisions!!) I don't want to use Monopoly money so if I use money I want to use this hoot loot owl theme dollars I saw on teachers pay teachers. But I'd have to cut all those out so maybe tickets would be easier Idk. But it's 4th grade so it might be more appropriate to use money. What prizes do they like???!! And where can I get them cheap? Bubbles in 4th grade before did not work. I think they might like an etch and sketch (just popped into my head as I was typing this), gel pens, slinkies,jump rope maybe? I don't know what else. What do they like? I was thinking a couple homework passes. It's a very poor school district so I was also thinking candy (checking for allergies first of course) and then also gift cards (Papa John's, Barnes and Noble). Are these good prizes? Is there anything you would change? Any other prize suggestion ideas would be welcome!

Any tips for management other than the reward system I'm using would be great! I have a REALLY difficult time getting the older kids in line. One kid was really acting out in my student teaching and begging to go to the principal's office and I had enough and just sent him. I realize now that was a mistake, but it's HARD to manage the older kids. The younger ones want to please you. The older ones do not.

Okay so also for the room, I'm assuming you're just provided with desks/tables and chairs and a teacher desk right? They don't provide you with mailboxes correct or do they? Where can you buy mailboxes? I went out looking and only found some made from cardboard and that's not what I want.

How does Open House work? I got placed late during my student teaching so I missed Open House and didn't get to see it. I'm stressed about that. What all do you need to give to the parents? I'm guessing an All About Me sheet and a sheet for them to fill out about their child? Anything else? It's a couple weeks after school starts so I'm guessing I need to send a letter home before that? So stressful!!!!!

Also, how does the first day of school work? I started late so I missed this as well. I'm guessing get to know you activities, I explain my reward system, and I'll even take some suggestions on some prizes they want to see, I have them practice my "attention getting signal" What else? Do you start teaching anything? Do you explain the schedule like how MY reading block works. I know they've had it many times before but I do things differently. And then maybe have some independent reading time in there? Anything else I'm missing? What activity is good to keep 4th graders quiet and occupied at the beginning of the day?

And class jobs have to get done too. I need to decide what jobs I'm having. This is so overwhelming!! I am stressed out!!!! And lesson plans! I assume I don't spend all summer making lesson plans for every day of school? I don't know.

And how does writing and reading time work? Can you make it however you want or does the principal say "Your reading and writing block is going to look like this" I've always been asked "What would your 90 minute reading block look like?" in interviews so I assume I decide how I want it? If I think of anything else I'll definitely ask but please help a stressed girl out in the meantime!!


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Linda/OH Linda/OH is offline
 
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first year
Old 06-12-2019, 02:38 AM
 
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Congratulations on your first teaching job!
FYI: This board does not get a lot of action, so sometimes posting a short question on the Busy Board results in more answers

I'v tried to provide answers . They're in blue.
Please take a deep breath. You can do this. I've taught 4th for 21 years. I've seen lots of changes during this time and have made many changes in my own style too. All the best to you.

Accepting this job pays for me to afford to get my Master's (and they pay for some of it) It also gets me teaching experience. Smart thinking!

First off, can you have a theme in your classroom in 4th grade? Should you have a theme or will they laugh at it? I've never done themes in 4th ever.

. For my management system, I tried ClassDojo in my student teaching. Works well with the younger ones. Did not work well for 4th grade. I now use an economy management system that I saw worked well in a 3rd grade classroom. Students can earn dollars or tickets (Which one would you use for 4th? So many decisions!!) I don't want to use Monopoly money so if I use money I want to use this hoot loot owl theme dollars I saw on teachers pay teachers. But I'd have to cut all those out so maybe tickets would be easier Idk. But it's 4th grade so it might be more appropriate to use money. What prizes do they like???!! And where can I get them cheap? Bubbles in 4th grade before did not work. I think they might like an etch and sketch (just popped into my head as I was typing this), gel pens, slinkies,jump rope maybe? I don't know what else. What do they like? I was thinking a couple homework passes. It's a very poor school district so I was also thinking candy (checking for allergies first of course) and then also gift cards (Papa John's, Barnes and Noble). Are these good prizes? Is there anything you would change? Any other prize suggestion ideas would be welcome! I would not spend my hard earned money on prizes. Maybe find another way to go, do you know if the school has a system already? Most schools have something in place.

Any tips for management other than the reward system I'm using would be great! I have a REALLY difficult time getting the older kids in line. One kid was really acting out in my student teaching and begging to go to the principal's office and I had enough and just sent him. I realize now that was a mistake, but it's HARD to manage the older kids. The younger ones want to please you. The older ones do not.
You'll learn how to handle these times with experience. 4th graders can be super and still want to please you. Remember when student teaching, the class has already been set. You will set the terms for your own class from day 1. Be confident and create a classroom of respect and joy

Okay so also for the room, I'm assuming you're just provided with desks/tables and chairs and a teacher desk right? They don't provide you with mailboxes correct or do they? Where can you buy mailboxes? I went out looking and only found some made from cardboard and that's not what I want. Again, please don't spend your money. Find out what the school has and what other teachers do. I don't use mailboxes (other teachers do). I simply have a Pass Back basket and helpers who hand out the papers from it.

How does Open House work? I got placed late during my student teaching so I missed Open House and didn't get to see it. I'm stressed about that. What all do you need to give to the parents? I'm guessing an All About Me sheet and a sheet for them to fill out about their child? Anything else? It's a couple weeks after school starts so I'm guessing I need to send a letter home before that? So stressful!!!!! Open Houses vary. Ours is called Meet the Teacher night and that's all the time there is. Families pop in and drop off supplies. It's a quick tour of the room and they're gone

Also, how does the first day of school work? I started late so I missed this as well. I'm guessing get to know you activities, I explain my reward system, and I'll even take some suggestions on some prizes they want to see, I have them practice my "attention getting signal" What else? Do you start teaching anything? Do you explain the schedule like how MY reading block works. I know they've had it many times before but I do things differently. And then maybe have some independent reading time in there? Anything else I'm missing? What activity is good to keep 4th graders quiet and occupied at the beginning of the day?

Day 1 is a lot of procedural stuff, getting to now you, read aloud Miss Mingo and the First day of School, labeling supplies, maybe a writing sample. The first day flies by!

And class jobs have to get done too. I need to decide what jobs I'm having. This is so overwhelming!! I am stressed out!!!! And lesson plans! I assume I don't spend all summer making lesson plans for every day of school? I don't know.
I have a Leader of the Day person and he/she does all jobs -picking helpers when they need to. I gave up on the rotation of having a job chart. This way is so much easier!

And how does writing and reading time work? Can you make it however you want or does the principal say "Your reading and writing block is going to look like this" I've always been asked "What would your 90 minute reading block look like?" in interviews so I assume I decide how I want it? If I think of anything else I'll definitely ask but please help a stressed girl out in the meantime!! You really need to meet with your team and find out these kind of answers since it varies so much.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:31 PM
 
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Welcome to 4th grade! Iíve taught 4th for 15 years and I have to say that they are a great age to teach. Please donít base everything on your less than wonderful student teaching experience. Like you, I didnít have a great experience when I did my student teaching placement in 4th and then loved my experience in first, and like you, I thought I was made for the primary grades. I also took the job I was offered and finally realized that the experience in 4th grade had a lot more to do with the cooperating teacher and her expectations and teaching style than it was about me. Fourth graders are at a great point because they are old enough to be independent and to understand some big concepts, but young enough to still love stickers and other silly things. I have had classes that are mature beyond their years and are too cool for school, but Iíve also had many years where the kids still bring stuffed animals in for sharing and still think their teacher is the coolest.

To answer some of your questions:

*Find out if you will have an official mentor or if you can touch base with anyone from your grade level. They can answer questions that are specific to your school and give you a better idea what is done across the grade level. As a PP said, your ELA block may be dictated by the school and will vary widely depending on what program is used.

*Theme - no one at my school really does a theme, regardless of grade, but I donít think I would have a full blown theme in 4th. We all do a welcome window for the beginning of school and some teachers will carry that window theme to some aspects of the classroom. For example, my window last year was Owls and I used name tags and locker tag with owls.

*Management system - again check to see if your school has any schoolwide systems in place. If not, I would find something that you are comfortable with and that you will be able to manage. I use a whole class system where the class earns points each day based on their behavior and they can use those points for free time or special activities (movies, games, etc). One of my grade level teammates gives students the opportunity to earn tokens that can then be turned in for different rewards. Another of my teammates does a fun Friday, where the class earns (or loses) minutes over the course of the week and then uses them at the end of the day on Friday. The best rewards are free - youíd be surprised how excited students are to eat lunch in the classroom with you, sit in the teachers chair, choose their own seat, get a homework pass, etc! I do have a small prize box for special occasions - mostly dollar store finds like fancy pencils, erasers, keychains, little sketch pads. Definitely donít do anything like gift cards or you will go broke! Do some reading of different systems and decide on one that feels like it fits your style.

*Classroom - every school is different, so itís hard to say. Definitely ask around the school to see if anyone has things they donít want or to see if any retiring teachers left things behind. I inherited lots of things from two teachers who retired and grabbed a few things that others were looking to get rid of. You mentioned that itís a poor school, but there is still a chance that you will have money from the budget to spend for supplies and itís possible that the principal can get you things like mailboxes if you canít find them elsewhere.

*Plans for the first few days - google this and you will find a ton of suggestions. Also watch these boards as it gets closer to back to school and there will be lots of posts. My number one suggestion is to focus on rules and routines! PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE everything - how to line up, how to walk in the halls, how to turn in papers, etc. Believe me, the rest of the year will run smoothly if you really focus on this now. Also add in simple getting to know you activities, and some basic skills reviews (like a writing activity to get a writing sample)

*Open House - Formats vary widely across schools, so find out what the format is at your school and then plan based on that. The school should notify parents, although a personal invite from you might increase attendance.

I hope this helps some. Feel free to ask more questions - Iíve always found these boards to be a tremendous help,
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