Tips For Future Teachers

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Discipline in the Classroom

I get a lot of questions from people who want to be teachers about discipline and controlling a classroom. To many, this is the most frightening part of being in front of a classroom of students. I don't think the media has helped either--tv shows have so many plot lines of teen violence. It makes many adults shake their head and think teens today must be so different from when they were teens. Which I don't beleive.

But back to discipline in the classroom--some schools have cultures that are out of control, that don't support the teachers as the leaders and the supervisors of the classrooms as they should be. It would be very difficult to teach in such a school. But these schools are rare. And in most classrooms around the country, students are not out of control, teachers are not huddled under their desks, hiding from students.

Each teach develops their own discipline style. Each teacher will find the balance they need that works for them, and while every teacher will have discipline problems pop up at times, most find a balance that controls the classroom while supporting learning.
When you are faced with discipline problems, you should brainstorm with other teachers, either at your school, or online through forums like allows you to communicate with other teachers while maintaining some privacy if the issue you are dealing with is sensitive. It is an invaluable resource, especially for newer teachers.

From: Amber
Aspiring kindergarten teacher

Hello, I am an undergraduate student and I hoping to become a teacher w/in the next year. I would like teach Kindergarten, but I have heard that it is one of the toughest grades to teach. I truly enjoy the younger kids and think that I will like teaching that age. If you have any experiences on teaching Kindergarten (good or bad), I would love to hear them. Or, if you would like to recommend other grades to teach that would be great too.

Amber, I am not sure what state you are in, and that makes a big difference in answering your question. Generally, when you get a license to teach, it is by grade, and generally, those grade deliniations are k-6, then 7-12. That isn't true in every state, but it a common way to license teachers. When you get classroom observation hours, you can request to observe different grades. That should help you make a decision.

As to the difficuty of teaching kindergarten, I would say it is more difficult than it used to be, but that it is no more difficult than any other grade. In kindergarten, a part of your job is just to get students used to the culture of school--sitting quietly for more than 10 minutes at a time, raising their hands, following directions, etc. You also have curricular goals to meet, such as teaching counting, early literacy strategies, and sometimes even teaching reading.

Again, my advice is to observe different classrooms, look over sample curricula in different grades, and make the best decision you can about what grade is the best one for you to teach. And remember, it might not always be up to you. You may teach 2nd grade for four years and suddenly get moved to teach 5th.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Intentions for this Blog

In the 17 years I have been a teacher, I have answered the following questions hundreds of times: "Why did you decide to become a teacher?" "Is teacher worth all the hassles?" "How do you become a teacher?" "How much money do teachers get?" etc. etc.

My hope is that this will be a resource for people who think they may want to teach. There many resources on the web for education students and those who have already started on the path to teaching. I'm going to link to some of the ones I have found helpful (as soon as I figure out how!), and discuss others.