Middle School Portal

the network for middle school math and science teachers

Since I became a new Teacher Leader for MSP2, I have noticed a lot of new members selecting "I can help with" being a new teacher.  As a new teacher myself, I am always looking for words of wisdom from those veteran teachers that have been on the front line.  So, I would like to start this forum for new members and/or new teachers to post comments or rants about being a
new math or science teacher.  If you are a veteran teacher, please post
tips, comments or suggestions for new teachers.


To get this thing started, I am including a list that I created about half-way through my first year of teaching.  See if you can relate or not. 

Letterman's Top 10 - Advice for New Teachers
10. Know where your room is located on campus.  It helps when you are coming back to your room from a fire drill at the beginning of the year - don't want to get lost.
9.Know who is really "in charge" at the front office - the principal's administrative assistant.
8. Find out what goodies the custodians like to eat.  They can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
7. Learn your kids' names.  Middle schoolers hate being called by the "wrong" name.
6. Find a partner in crime (fellow teacher) to give you the scoop on what's really going on at school.
5. Make friends with the counselor.  He/she can really be a great ally during a heated parent/teacher conference.
4. Don't ask your kids too many questions.  You never know what they are going to say...sometimes, it is TMI (too much information).
3. Don't try to be a super hero by volunteering for everything.  There is always next year!
2. If it isn't locked away, taped down or glued to the wall - it will be gone or destroyed by the end of the year.

1. Get a degree in "How to Fix the Copier".  It will come in handy on Monday mornings when you are running late to make copies for class.


Please post comments or rants about being a new math or science teacher.  If you are a veteran teacher, please post tips, comments or suggestions to help new teachers.

Tags: math, newteachers, science, tips, veteranteachers

Views: 324

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Davilla,

I LOVE you list!! ...and totally agree with all but one - that is number 2. Thankfully, this has not been my experience. As far as I know, the only thing that ever got stolen from me was a honey bun lying on a table in the middle of the room. ... and a few kids who took too many pieces of candy (OK .. I don't give candy for prizes any more, but that was before my enlightenment.)

The crazy thing is that I have always been so trusting that many times my purse or my cell phone were in easy reach. Another crazy thing is that every time I have been ready to blame a student for stealing something, I find it right where I left it.

OH .. I just remembered another thing .. and this one was bad. When I taught health, a student took my notebook of transparencies out of the room just for the notebook. I am sure the transparencies were trashed. It was sad because all the other students missed out on the visual learning. It was sadder because all the student had to do was ask,and I would have given them a notebook. They were always told to let me know if there was a problem and I would discreetly provide one.

YES .. i have always taught in public schools - sometimes middle schools of 1200 kids. After we became middle schools, I taught virtually every kid in the school in the 6th grade. Our families spanned the gamut from deep poverty to at least upper middle class. I still marvel that I was so fortunate.
Rebecca
To Davilla's list - I'd like to add, be organized! Here is a tip from a math teacher in my previous school.

* She color coded her classes and purchased folders to match the colors.
* She had a plastic folder with several pockets to hold materials she needed to give students.
* She had a plastic folder with only two pockets - with border to match the multi-pocketed folder - for papers she would take home to grade.
* She had a different type - but same color scheme - folder on her desk with all the needed assignments for each class for the next week. She ran off the papers on Thursday afternoon the week before.
* She tabbed her gradebook with a matching color.

She never had to unroll rubber-banded papers to find the right ones for class. She didn't have to dig in her bag to find the papers she had already graded. Everything was there in sight. No class time was wasted searching for needed materials, and she didn't have to change her lesson plans at the last minute because of lost items.

I think she is a genius! Great job, Julie!
One more tip so I don't forget. This tip would work for any subject, but these teachers teach 8th grade math at Castle Heights Middle School in Rock Hill.

Let's title this one "Many hands make light work"

These three teachers always plan together. Each has a job. For example, one runs off all the papers for all of their math classes each week.

Working together like this means that all 8th grade students receive instructions on the same topics. Also, it means less work for each teacher. Further, if a teacher has to be out unexpectedly, the other two teachers can help the substitute with lessons. Sometimes they have even integrated the upper level students into their classes so the students did not miss instruction the substitute was not able to provide.

...so as Davilla has suggested, find some partners in crime (i.e. others who teach the same subjects) and share.

(BTW, if you are the only teacher in the school who teaches your subject, collaborate with other teachers in the district/state/or right here on MSP2. In our district the middle school computer teachers always shared our lessons. The health teachers did the same. We kept an email group and sent any lessons we created to the others.)

If you are a new teacher, WELCOME to the greatest profession on earth. Remember, we make all other professions possible!
Thank you Rebecca for your tips. I color code things, too. It helps me keep my different class periods organized.

This is a classroom management tip, but it helped me consolidate my records. In order to keeps things going in class and not interrupt your teaching, a science teacher told me to hand out "discipline slips" or "detentions" using a messages log. The ones that have double or triple carbonless copies. The top copy is given to the student. This can serve as their pass to class to serve the detention. The middle copy is given to counselors or parents. The bottom copy is for your records. You can use this bottom copy to record notes about parent/teacher communication. This made my life easier and it kept everything in one place. After a while, it just took my removing the messages log from my desk and the kids settled down.

Work smarter, not harder!!
Tip from new member Reid Schwebach...

For being a new teacher, Wong's book, The First Days of School, is an important read.

Thank you Reid!!
Came across the link for this blog post "100 Essential Blog Posts for New Teachers" on Twitter. Includes posts about working with students, classroom management, teaching, technology, going green in school and education reform.
Right now, I am reading a great book directed towards new middle school teachers that I found through NMSA. It is called "Managing the Madness" by Jack C. Berckemeyer. It provides great examples on how to show you care, meet the technology challenge, teach social skills, channel adolescent power and discipline proactively. I highly recommend this book for new middle school teachers!!

I am a new science teacher, and I am looking for tips specifically on classroom behavior management and lab safety procedures. I use my school's infraction slips, and I also typed up a template for lab safety violation citation forms which check off particular offenses (not following directions, horseplay, not wearing goggles). There is a spot for student to write down in their own words what they were doing, with room for teacher to clarify, and the whole thing is sent home for parent to sign.  I am also curious to hear about lab routines -- setup, cleanup, assessment, etc.

Hello Cheska-

My first 8th grade lab was always over "lab safety."  I would take the students over to lab and lay out expectations as well what to do if there was an issue (acid spill, hair on fire, chemicals in eyes, etc).  I made it clear that labs were fun, but due to their nature posed inherent dangers.  I also provided clear outlines and told them that my goal was to do at least one lab every week and if they abused the privilege then the remainder of the class would do the lab without them while they were writing a report over the same subject matter (This may seem harsh, but after the students see this occur once or twice there are rarely any other misbehaviors during labs).  Safety of all students comes first....

As far as day to day lab procedure- We are on short periods so I would always prep the students the day before the activity.  I would make sure that supplies were separated and laid out so that we could hit the ground running (I often used trust worthy students to help set up the labs before hand).  I would write out transition/pacing times on the dry erase board to provide the students with a clear outline of how the period should unfold.  Clean up- All of the students were responsible for cleaning up their own areas.  Once again, if messes were left then they would write a report in lieu of the next lab.  Again, this rarely happened because they didn't want to miss out on the activity........If beakers, graduated cylinders, dissection trays needed further clean up- I would ask for volunteers to return and clean up during common free time throughout the day.  Many students were always happy to help and I would provide a small reward from time to time. 

I love inquiry-based labs!  That being said I always started out with a couple of “cookie cutter” to make put everything through their paces.  These guided labs always worked many of the bugs out of the system and provided the framework for the more complex, less structured labs throughout the remainder of the year.

 

Hope this helps!

 



Cheska Lorena said:

I am a new science teacher, and I am looking for tips specifically on classroom behavior management and lab safety procedures. I use my school's infraction slips, and I also typed up a template for lab safety violation citation forms which check off particular offenses (not following directions, horseplay, not wearing goggles). There is a spot for student to write down in their own words what they were doing, with room for teacher to clarify, and the whole thing is sent home for parent to sign.  I am also curious to hear about lab routines -- setup, cleanup, assessment, etc.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2013   Created by Middle School Portal.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service