These guides for first-year teachers offer crucial tips for managing the classroom, students, curriculum, parent communication, and, of course, time.
Part of being an effective teacher involves fine-tuning your people skills. But the knack for getting along with all the different personality types among your students, colleagues, and parents doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience, on-the-job-experience, and self-evaluation to gain a comfortable rapport with people you deal with on a professional basis. Consider keeping a teaching journal track your insights and improvements. This checklist will help you assess your style and pinpoint areas where there is room for growth.
In the Classroom
- Do I accept each student as he or she is?
- Do I help all students feel they belong?
- Do I show confidence in my students?
- Do I let my students know I like them?
- Do I make each student feel he or she has something to contribute?
- Do my students bring their problems to me?
- Do I help students accept one another?
- Do I live up to agreements with students?
- Do I succeed in getting everyone to assume some responsibility?
- Do I help the group form a behavior code?
Outside of the Classroom
- Do I try to develop faculty cooperation?
- Do I do my share in determining and carrying out school policies?
- Do I aid colleagues with constructive ideas?
- Do I accept ideas from others?
- Do I refrain from interfering with the classroom affairs of colleagues?
- Do I refrain from shifting my responsibilities to other teachers?
- Do I maintain confidentiality about my students?
- Do I transact school business through the proper channels?
- Do I avoid petty conversations about my colleagues?
- Do I maintain confidentiality about my colleagues?
With Parents and Community
- Do I maintain friendly, cooperative relationships with parents?
- Do I hold all information confidential?
- Do parents feel sure that I deal justly and impartially with every child?
- Do I give all parents their fair share of time?
- Do I present a complete, fair, and meaningful evaluation to parents?
- Do I listen to and give fair thought to parents' opinions?
- Do I take an active part in community life?
- Do I treat each student without prejudice and partiality?
- Do I respect the confidence of a student? Of a group of students?
- Do I refuse to use my position to promote partisan policies and sectarian views?
- Do I listen to and weigh parents' viewpoints carefully?
- Do I avoid making remarks that might discredit parents?
- Do I support a school policy once it has been determined?
- Am I kind, tolerant, and loyal in my dealings with professional associates?
- Do I take pride in the achievements of my colleagues?
- Do I criticize with discretion?
- Am I proud of my profession?
This article was adapted from Learning to Teach...Not Just for Beginners: The Essential Guide for All Teachers by Linda Shalaway (© 2005, Scholastic).