Last year our school worked with Teach across America ( I think that is what it is called, I am so bad with names) where student-teachers worked with seasoned teachers for a year and are now going into their own classrooms. Well as one of our student teachers was hired and went to another school she asked for advice to get her started. And everyone gave ideas on what to do and I remember when I was teaching my first year and wishing that someone would have told me some things I probably shouldn’t do. Here are 11 mistakes that I have seen happen with new teachers and some I have probably done myself. I hope this is helpful!
- Inconsistencies, if something is a rule or procedure stick with it and be consistent with the consequences.
- Handle problems publicly, first you want to avoid embarrassing a child plus many times when you handle things privately you find out what may be the real issue behind the behavior.
- Only give verbal instructions, you want to ensure students understand what is expected so having written instructions along with verbal will relieve headaches in the long run.
- Try to teach or give instructions before everyone is quiet, you are teaching the kids that it is okay to talk while you are trying to teach and at that point no one is learning.
- Use a lot of negatives i.e. don’t, stop, etc., there are some times that you will of, course say negatives but do not make it a habit. Students will view you as negative plus they are getting your attention which was the goal. I try to mention what I would like to see. (i.e. Stop running in the hallway! vs. We walk in the hallway)
- Make consequences go on forever, sorry it’s just too much of a hassle to remember someone has no recess for a week plus most of the time they will forget why they are being punished that weakens its effect.
- Not use proximity, there were so many times I have heard teachers who state that they had no idea something is going on in their room. If you are walking around while you are teaching you nip a lot of issues in the bud before they happen. No one is going to see everything but you do not want that to be a staple in your classroom because kids talk and it will not be long before your class is known as that class!
- Hold grudges, remember they are kids and don’t think before they act so don’t continue punishing a student for one infraction.
- Not reward positive behavior, I probably should have put this first but if you do not recognize the students who are following your procedures and rules they will stop following them because they believe that is the best way to get your attention.
- Be standoffish, I already wrote a post about this but you want to have a relationship with your students and be approachable. It will help your class run smoother because they want to follow your rules and procedures because they like you.
- Not have a classroom management system in place, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN!!! See what your school uses but your class is your island and you need to have something in place to ensure things run as smooth as possible.
Please share some things new teachers may want to avoid, I look forward to hearing from some veterans.