I thought my second grade teacher was an angel. She had long, sandy blonde hair and a smile for everyone. And she had the best name we had ever heard: Miss Kjoller (pronounced "Keeler"). We knew enough about letters to think, what is that 'j' doing there?
In Miss Kjoller's classroom, language was a mystery and a joy. It could help us discover our past (her name was German, we learned) and introduce new ideas that no one had heard before. She set up a reading corner with books and giant beanbags, and encouraged us to express our ideas in our own journal – a little book of handwriting paper with spaces for illustrations. She connected with us each individually, and made us feel that our thoughts and concerns were important.
Second grade was a stark contrast to first grade, where my teacher was unprepared, overwhelmed, and unhappy. I felt like a burden to her, and I started coming home with stomach aches. On the outside, the two classrooms looked a lot alike, and it may have been the first year for both teachers, but Miss Kjoller made me love school again.
The impact teachers have on our lives is undeniable. It is probably the reason many of us chose it as a career – either because we were inspired by a great teacher or motivated by the idea that if we were in charge, we could do a better job.
As a first and second grader, I was not (and should not have been) aware of the work that went into creating those learning environments, but I could distinctly sense the difference between them. Some early preparation can set the stage for a positive and successful year for you and your students. Here are four suggestions for starting the year off strong:
- Get to know your students before the first day.
Talk to previous teachers, look through yearbooks, and read students' files – especially those with IEPs. Know their struggles, but also give them the opportunity to start fresh. Knowing a little about them will help you feel less nervous, and may give you ideas about ways to engage them. Remember that they will be nervous on the first day too!
- Start early in establishing a relationship with parents.
If they have talked to you once, they will be more likely to share information later that will help you understand and address learning problems. It will also open the door for suggesting activities to promote reading and learning at home.
- Create a system for regular assessment and progress monitoring.
This will help identify weak areas early and give you regular feedback about your methods.
- Establish a relationship with an experienced teacher.
A mentor can answer questions, provide support, and reassure you when you need it!
Questions from First Year Teachers
Reading Rockets solicited questions from people about to embark on their first year of teaching. Below are some of the answers to some of their questions:
I am nervous about the accountability set by No Child Left Behind. What will happen to me if my students do not improve their reading scores enough during the year?
No Child Left Behind requires all public schools to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP). If schools do not meet progress goals two years in a row, they are labeled "in need of improvement." NCLB outlines a sequence of reforms, ending with a complete restructuring of the school after the fifth year. A school can only begin replacing teachers in poorly-performing schools after the fourth year of low performance. Though you will probably not lose your job due to NCLB after your first year, make sure you take opportunities to expand and improve your teaching techniques. This will secure your position as a teacher and your students' success as learners.
The U.S. Department of Education outlines the law and answers frequently asked questions in an easy-to-read manual called No Child Left Behind: A Toolkit for Teachers
There is a set amount of time that should be spent on reading each day, according to my district. Between that and the math time, it leaves less than an hour for science and social studies together. Can I integrate the reading time with other subjects to give my students a well-rounded education?
While students need to understand the mechanics of reading (just like we need to understand how to operate a car before we can drive around), the ultimate goal is to go places! Don't sacrifice content in your reading exercises. Organize reading lessons around themes, so that as students learn to read, they are getting ready to make use of this skill by tapping into a large reserve of knowledge on a variety of topics. Use science and social studies time to expand on the ideas you read about during reading time.
By incorporating different subjects into reading time, you are addressing two important components of a good literacy program, as identified by the National Reading Panel: fluency and comprehension. When children have background knowledge in lots of different areas, they will be able to link what they read to what they know, creating a larger web of understanding about the world around them.
The more you help students make connections within and between subject areas, the more they will get from reading!
What kind of homework can I give my students to help with their reading abilities? I don't want to just give them spelling worksheets.
The best way to use homework as a teaching tool is to assign a task that students can use during the next class period. Incorporate homework into a class activity so that students are practicing a skill independently at home and then putting it to use in the classroom. This way, they will feel their work was worthwhile, and you will be more likely to keep their assignments meaningful.
- Example 1: Vocabulary
Focus vocabulary words around a theme you are discussing in class. Assign each child 5 words and have them look up the definitions for homework. In class, put them into groups to label a diagram, present a report, or describe a process using the words. If each child had slightly different words in his list, they will all need to participate to complete the project.
- Example 2: Spelling
For spelling practice, give students a set of words with the same pattern (e.g. –eet). For homework, have them trace and illustrate each word. In class, play a game where students have to match the beginning sound (f-, b-, sw-, gr-), the common pattern (-eet), and their picture.
- Example 3: Writing
For homework, have students write two lines of a poem, using a recent vocabulary word. In class, have children put their segments together and create a song.
Don't give so much homework that they don't have time to be kids! And remember, work that seems quick and easy to you may take much longer for a child. In a nutshell, keep homework short and meaningful.
For more advice for first year teachers, check the transcript from Education Week's recent chat with teachers Hanne Denney and Jim Burke, Getting Ready for the New School Year: Advice for Teachers:
*Register for free access to two Education Week articles each week.
Essay Best Teacher, Worst Teacher
974 Words4 Pages
Best Teacher, Worst Teacher
Although I have had many different types of teachers, there are two that stick out more than any others. The first was my third and sixth grade teacher. She was the best teacher I ever had. The second was my seventh grade teacher. She was the worst I think a student could have had. Both, these teachers had very different teaching styles and very different out looks on teaching. To be an effective teacher the teacher must respect the student and be willing to go the extra mile to help the students learn all they can. In this paper, I will discuss the effectiveness of these two teachers and how their teaching styles differed.
First of all, what is a good teacher? According…show more content…
I hope that I do not become a teacher like this.
Now that I can see the difference in good and bad teaching I have two teachers in mind that fit each description. The first being my favorite teacher. She was both my third and sixth grade teacher. She showed me that I could be what ever I wanted to be. She made me feel that even though I was not the best student in the class I still could be the best if I gave a little more. She motivated me to do all my work and gave me the extra boost I need to learn. When the students in my class did something right she always praised us. She also played game with us to learn. According to the book it says. ?If the teacher keeps the students involved they will be more likely to like school and learn in school.?
The second type of teacher is and ineffective teacher. This type of teacher does not motivate or enthuse their students to learn. My seventh grade teacher was this type of teacher. She was a cake decorating teacher at the vocational center then became a math teacher overnight. At the begging of class, every day she would stand at the board and say class be quiet class shut up. That's all she would say the whole class and we never got anything done. Then if she would try to teach she would read out of the book and never give examples. If a student would ask a question she would say you?re not dumb you know the answer. The teacher always put the students down. According to