Serial Success: The Final 6
The fourth and final episode of Serial Success! [Day 8 31DBBB: Interlink Your Older Blog Posts]
1. Take random pictures.
This goes back to keeping records of your students. Random pictures are fun and can be easily incorporated into your blog, your classroom decorations, yearbook, or a school/parent newsletter. Students love attention and what better way to focus attention than by gazing at yourself? Take pictures during Homecoming week, at sporting events, assemblies, field trips or when you do super cool projects in the classroom. A teacher that I student taught with took a picture of each class and had an 8x10 printed out. Then she hung them all in the classroom. Students loved staring at themselves, considering they had forgotten what they and everyone sitting next to them looked like. Save these for posterity. Or just for remembering how cool you are.
2. Rearrange periodically.
Move your desk. Hang up new decorations. Put out new reading material. Push desks together or move them apart. Add some color. Rotate supplies. Do this for your own sanity. You spend all day, every day in this room. Your students spend time in this room every day. For the safety of everyone involved, spice it up! Life is too short for boring.
3. Show school spirit.
Anyone can wear a school t-shirt or hang up a sports schedule in their classroom. Showing school spirit is an attitude. The most important ingredient is that you care about students. Support them. Create a pep club if you don't have one. A math teacher I worked with started a math pep club. They designed a t-shirt with some funny math joke and wore them to the homecoming football game. That's it. The students LOVED it. I've seen in other schools where students decorate their lockers with cutouts for whatever clubs they're involved in. Offer bonus points if students come to a game or event and you see them there. Students will do anything for bonus points. Showing students you care about them and the school makes it a happier place to be.
4. No degrading
This one gets kind of messy with me. It should be simple so let me explain. As a teacher, you should NEVER speak disrespectfully of any teacher, students, faculty, staff, administrator, or employee of the school in front of your students. You immediately lose integrity with the students. They may think you're funny or cool at the time, but they don't really know where you stand. If you hate the place you work, why do you continue to work there? It sends a mixed message to the students. What's hard for me is, because I'm young, the students sometimes forget I'm a teacher. They complain to me about other teachers and how they're treated and their homework policies and so on. It's hard for me to hide my feelings and sometimes I am angry at the other teachers, but I can't show that. I try to take the focus off the teacher and put it on the student- what could you do differently? What are you doing wrong? How can you help the situation? How can I help you do better? Things like that. I want my students to feel like they are surrounded by people who care about them, support them, and want the best for them...whether it's true or not. I can use my influence to help students see things through a positive light even when it's a negative situation.
5. Current Events
One of my high school teachers would read the headlines on MSN when he turned his computer on and mention the ones that related to us in class. It was a government class so that wasn't hard to do but I think it's important. Math can be incorporated easily too- anything to do with money, architecture, sports statistics, etc. A lot of what students hear is trash so if you can speak truth about any subject, even current events, it could change their perspective. Relating your subject to the real world makes class more interesting, more relevant, and more believable.
6. Be accessible to students.
As I mentioned in another post, there are tons of ways to relate to kids outside of school. The ethics are debatable but you need to be accessible in some form. Whether it's an e-mail address, blog, or phone number, it's important for students to see you as a source of help. If you offer after school tutoring, invite them. (Or offer bonus points for coming) Tell the students your planning period so they can come for homework help. The odds are, not very many students will seek you out. But it could make a HUGE difference for the few students who actually need it. Students need to know you're there for them. Commit.
That wraps up my 220.127.116.11 tips and tricks. Thanks to everyone who reads!
Read the beginning of the series:
Serial Success: 6 Strategies for School
Serial Success: 6 More Strategies
Serial Success: A 6let of Strategies