I must share this post with you: Letter to a New Teacher by Dan Meyer. I’m no new teacher anymore. I guess I’m now in the experienced teacher category (no excuse!). But, I still struggle with the issues talked about in this letter. I want my kids to be excited to come to my class. I want to try new ideas and make math fun. And many times I am at a loss. This is more true when I start at a new school. I’ve moved around a lot and it has given me so much valuable experience that I will never trade for, but it is also exhausting to have to learn new curriculum and new ways of doing things every few years. I hope that I get to stay at my current school for long because I already love it here.
Happy-end-of-first-week-of-school, everyone! 😉
After a long break I am back to being a teacher. (Yay!!!) I’ve been hired as the 5th and 6th Grade Math teacher at a fabulous private Christian school. I find this quite amusing as Math was never a subject I thought I’d choose to teach. Generally, kids either like math or they don’t. I did always think Math was an easier subject to teach because it is very clear cut compared to something like grading an essay. But, I’ve started reading blogs of Middle School Math teachers and am starting to actually get excited about teaching this subject. I love that I’ll be able to focus on one subject instead of eight.
We’ve had three weeks of various meetings and trainings (this is how new teachers get punished..? with the extra trainings and meetings…), and finally, this coming week, we will be receiving our babies for the new school year. And finally…I get to blog about classroom teaching again! 😀
An interesting article and a good read. I think I agree with most of them. ;P And I thought I’d have fun and add a few things I wish my class parents knew…
- Be honest with yourself, with the teacher (me), and with your child: This is so broad so an attempt to expound on it is too big of a task on a blog…but, just like in any relationship (friendship, spousal relationship, co-worker) honesty saves people a lot of time and grief. Honesty about your child’s progress, about a program at school, how you are with your child, if you are able to handle your child etc. (Tactfulness is implied) – To be perfectly honest, an experienced teacher can always detect dishonesty in most cases…
- Show you are interested and get involved in your child’s education in a way that you can: I guess every parent is different in how much time they have depending on what kind of job they have..some jobs require much traveling, some jobs work in shifts…but, I truly believe that no matter how young a child is, they can sense it, if their parents are making an effort to invest in their school life and education. I know and have witnessed the huge impact this has on the child’s attitude towards school and just their general well-being. So do it. Do your best not to travel when it’s your child’s open house or at least volunteer for one of the events or field trips.
- Develop a good relationship with me (the teacher): I see this in the same category as maintaining a friendly relationship with your clients or co-workers in a corporate world. You may not always like them or agree with them, but living in peace with them will not only make your life easier but will benefit you. Whether you agree with the teacher’s style is not an issue. This is for the well-being of your child. Your attitude towards the teacher will influence your child’s attitude towards the teacher which will also affect his attitude in class. Make an effort to use positive language about the teacher and appear supportive of what’s going on in the classroom. (I hope it is understood that this is different from supporting a teacher who display integral issues. But, even in that case, I think being discreet and tactful about it will help the child know how to respond appropriately.)
- Develop a good relationship with other parents in the class: I also see this as common sense. It helps you to be informed of what’s going on and gives you a more whole picture of the classroom as well.
- Be concerned for the school as a whole, not just the class your child is in: I guess this is along the lines of being concerned only for what’s relevant to you in terms of governmental system as opposed to the entire country – its policies, structure/system etc. The effect might not always be obvious or immediate in the classroom, but the culture of the school and where its headed has a dramatic effect in individual classrooms and teachers for that matter.
I based this on what I would do as a parents and also on what I’ve experienced as a teacher and moments when I thought, ‘I would never do that as a parent,’ or ‘I definitely want to be a parent like him/her.’
There’s always more…so stay tuned. 😉