1. Will I make a good first impression on my students? As a teacher, I always had a go-to "first day skirt." It was pretty and flowy, not too long, and went well with a white top. I wore it with heels, and it gave me confidence. On that critical first day, you have to get student attention, come across as fun and smart, set classroom rules but not seem too strict, and set high academic expectations but make the year sound exciting. Just like your little one brings something from home to comfort her, every teacher has a special confidence secret that we lean on for a little extra luck on that first day.
2. Will my classroom management plan work? Classroom management plans are constantly tweaked to better prevent classroom disruptions. Many are quite complicated with visual charts, reward and penalty systems and color coded classroom teams. We spend hours putting a plan together and then basically, cross our fingers that our students will buy into it.
3. How much of my own creativity will I get to use? In some schools, teachers are spoon-fed the curriculum and barely allowed to write lesson plans. In other schools, teachers are allowed to use the standards as a baseline for creating multi-faceted units. Most good teachers are creative and imaginative and hope they get to use these attributes. After all, that's one of the main reason they became teachers.
4. I really hope I don't have to give a detention...ever. Giving detention is horrible. It usually requires stopping class, filling out a slip, contacting the parent, notifying the office and entering it into a database. Often times, the paperwork for giving detention takes longer than the actual detention itself. This is where those classroom management plans come into play. If they work, the teacher won't have to resort to the school's penalties, which are usually annoying and can lead to student frustration and angst.
5. How much will The Test matter? Some schools put a lot of influence on the state test, to the point where it drives most of the curriculum. This means some information is left out of the lessons, so as not to "confuse" the students with what they "need to know," and to allow time to review for the exam. A classroom that is driven by the test can be repetitive, boring and frustrating for both teachers and students. Most teachers really dislike the test and wish it would just go away.
Sarahlynne, MEd, is a Parenting Guru and an experienced educator.
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