A teacher’s first year in the classroom is a challenge like no other. There’s lesson planning, classroom management, grading and what seems like a billion other responsibilities all rolled into one. Then one day early in the year, a sealed envelope labeled CONFIDENTIAL arrives in your inbox. No, this folder is not an invitation to join a spy mission, but students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
For first year teachers, IEPs can be some of the most confusing documents he or she reads. There’s also the complicated task of implementing IEPs in the classroom. To help first-year teachers, this article covers IEP basics, implementing IEPs, and essentials to keep in mind throughout the year.
When I first started teaching, I though that classroom management was about controlling students. I was told that I needed to “show them who’s boss” and “don’t smile until May.” So I doled out detentions for everything from gum chewing to uniform violations to 30-second tardies.
And then I realized that I was doing it all wrong.
Good teachers know that building strong relationships with parents is an essential step in helping all students to achieve. Building, developing and maintaining strong family to home school links helps students to achieve higher attainment, a more academically bright future and creates a safety net where all adults are poised to spot difficulties and work collaboratively to solve problems as a team. Research at Child Trends shows that when a student's parents or family are actively involved in their school life and speak regularly with their teachers they are more likely to finish high school.
Your classroom is your home for eight hours (or more) every day of the week—nine to ten months out of the year. That means the walls and floors can quickly get boring or even dispiriting. But spending a lot of money probably isn’t in most teachers’ budgets—and the wear and tear of students tromping in and out can quickly make its mark on every surface. Fortunately, there are wallet-smart ways for you to add a little zing to your classroom.
People often ask me why I love working with teenagers. And my answer to their question is usually the same—teenagers are still figuring out what they think. For me, helping my students to find their own opinions and views on topics, especially the difficult ones, and especially the ones on which they might have been lead to believe that there is only one right answer, is really my most important job.