Just a quick note that I’ve passed the PPR exam earning a 280 out of 300 (240 was the passing score). That completes my two content exams; the previous one I also earned a 280 out of 300. Now I just have a few administrative tasks to complete before I get my full certification. It’s been a long road, May is just around the corner, and I’m starting to look forward to Summer and the fresh start a new teaching year will bring in August.
With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few tips for new teachers going through what I’ve been through:
- Know the school policies on anything student related. Nothing kills your confidence when establishing rules like not knowing the school’s policy on the issue. I had no idea whether the school allowed MP3 players for the first few weeks of school and it really stank when I had to rescind my earlier permission of their use. This also applies to dress code, tardies, grade book policy, profanity (although discipline actions are loosely defined) and more.
- Don’t develop new ideas until your first six weeks are over. This is something that I didn’t really think about until now. When you start teaching, you have all these ideas for how you want to handle situations, but you really have no idea how it will be until you are there in class and everything is blowing up around you. So for grading policies, classroom rules and other related items, use something from an experienced teacher. There’s just no way for a new teacher to make decisions about rules without the experience.
- Be overly strict at first, then settle in. Being uncertain about my and my school’s rules caused me a lack of confidence when it came to enforcing rules. I wish I were more certain about my expectations and ways to enforce them before the kids learned what they could get away with. That’s one thing I look forward to next year is that I’ll have a fresh set of minds who don’t know exactly what they can and can’t do yet. Yes, being too strict can have a backlash, but students respect consistency and no one can fault the consistency of a strict teacher.
I have some more ideas that I might post soon. TAKS test is this week so I have a semi-break from planning while my students get to endure four rounds or multiple choice/short answer hell. After that I’m headed to Dallas for national BPA competition, so again, more of a planning break for me (although sub plans can be a tricky thing).
All in all, when it comes to next year, It’ll be interesting doing it all over again.