As a new teacher, I spend large chunks of my time searching new-teacher materials and resources to push me beyond my original teaching philosophy and beliefs. I also spend a lot of time either lurking or jumping in on Twitter teacher chats, like #edchat and #ntchat, sharing ideas or learning from different perspectives. Last week’s #ntchat was a great example of the latter, which focused on classroom rules.
During the chat, Melissa Tran (@thenewtag) tweeted a few thoughts that afterwards left me thinking about my own techniques. Her tweets emphasized more on what and how students learn rather than relying on traditional lists of do’s and don’ts.(See last week’s chat transcripts here.) I thought the chat was rather well-timed; I’m starting my second year volunteering at my local church again, and in less than two hours I will meet my 4th grade catechists. I spent the past weekend mulling over how I would introduce class rules differently this year.
In my experience last year, I had trouble with two female students who teased and bullied a male classmate. We resolved the problem by having 1:1 talks and a group conference, but since then I realized that I could have done a much better job by being more proactive and more consistent with class expectations. This year I’m working with younger students so I decided to focus on one major expectation: respect.
I printed out a big poster w/ a graphic of the word “Respect” in the middle. After introductions and before the song program, I plan to have a short class discussion on what they think the word means and to work on providing and modeling examples of how students show respect for themselves, how students show respect for others, and how students show respect for the environment. If there is enough time, perhaps I will have the students sign the poster as a sign of collaborative commitment to upholding respect in the classroom.
Going back to new teacher resources, Melissa also wrote a great blog post on resources for new teachers. In the post, she shares some of her favorite books, movies, links and additional suggestions on building a good foundation for continuous professional development. I adore Miss Tran and consider myself lucky for having her in my Twitter Teacher PLN!
Now I’m off to get ready to meet the 4th graders, and hope to get back in time for tonight’s new #ntchat on best technology tools for the classroom, featuring the lovely Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach) as our guest moderator. Hope to see you online!