Blogs on New Teachers

Blogs on New TeachersRSS
Judy Willis MDJanuary 30, 2013

My August blog -- which included responses from experienced teachers about what they wish they’d known as beginners -- focused on students' emotions and classroom community. Now that we are several months into the school year, I offer their advice about goals, resources and cautions.

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Nicholas ProvenzanoDecember 19, 2012

For Your Eyes Only

It is a little known fact that Santa has an entire division of elves who focus on educators. They are known as ELFS (Elves Love Following Schoolteachers). These ELFS spend their days tracking down educators to make sure they are being nice. When a teacher is naughty or nice, they make note of it and send it to the ELFS database for the computers to sort out. Another little known fact: Google’s algorithm for searches is based on the ELFS computer system at the North Pole.

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Mark PhillipsNovember 27, 2012

It was back to school night. I was teaching American History. A parent asked me, somewhat accusingly, "Given your liberal bias, how do you plan to teach the New Deal?" My assumption was that this was a Republican parent. My response was, "Well, as to being a liberal, guilty as charged! But as a history teacher, I have a responsibility to help students look critically at the varied perspectives of historical events. I give equal and fair time to Wilkie and other good Republicans." After the session ended, we chatted about how FDR tried to stack the Supreme Court, and I told him I was aware that FDR didn't walk on water.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsNovember 5, 2012

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
- Will Smith

It's about that time of year: the turning of the leaves, the excitement of the holidays . . . the falling behind in your process.

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Nicholas ProvenzanoOctober 18, 2012

There's nothing like the excitement students and teachers feel when school starts. Kids are excited to see who's in their class and what types of great things they're going to learn. Teachers spent their summer tweaking lessons and creating brand new ones, and now they're excited about engaging the next set of students sitting patiently in their chairs just waiting to be taught. OK, it might not be exactly like that, but there is an energy at the start of the school year that is already fading as Halloween decorations start to appear in stores.

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Todd FinleySeptember 27, 2012

In The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande writes about the importance of list making as a process of working through critical decisions, and list reviewing as a critical element to support aspirations. Marc Andreeson, a checklist user, attained extraordinary success by inventing the web browser. Later he joined the board of eBay and Facebook and co-founded Ning. Andreeson's secret: before going to sleep, he writes down three to five things he plans to accomplish the next day on an index card. " . . . I try like hell to get just those things done. If I do, it was a successful day." When he completes other tasks, he uses the back of the card (which he calls his "anti-to-do list") to record what he has finished. At the end of the day, he tears up the card -- mission accomplished -- and reaches for another.

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Danielle Moss LeeSeptember 10, 2012

Even though I haven't been a student or a classroom teacher in a long time, the beginning of a new school year still fills my stomach with butterflies. For me, September still signifies crisply ironed clothes, spotless new shoes, and clean loose-leaf paper in an as-yet-untarnished new binder. As a teacher, the summer vacation gave me the time I needed to recover from the insatiable demands that being alone in a room with 20 or so burgeoning adolescents inevitably placed on me. I spent the last weeks of summer dipping into my own pocket to make sure that my classroom was beautifully appointed with pictures, posters, and various sundry learning tools; and that my bulletin boards stood at the ready -- waiting to showcase the brilliance that was sure to emerge from my students in those early months of the school year.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsSeptember 4, 2012

Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET, I host New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) on Twitter. It's a time for new and pre-service teachers, as well as supportive administrators and experienced teachers, to gather online and have discussions about topics that are practitioner focused and supportive for the soon-to-be teacher.

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José VilsonAugust 27, 2012

For those of us in the field of educating young minds, we often find that summer does two things rather well. First, it helps us remember a time when our first names weren't Mister or Miss for the majority of the day and when we didn't have to break out into a vibrant soliloquy whenever the tenor of a room didn't feel right. Secondly, it abruptly breaks us out of our own routines for how we go about our days. We don't follow the bells or the crowds swooshing past the hallways to their next stations.

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Judy Willis MDAugust 23, 2012

This year I had the opportunity to work with many educators in national and global workshops. On two of these occasions, I asked the teachers to share their wisdom by answering the question, "What I know now that I wish I had known as a first year teacher is . . . "

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