Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mentoring Preservice Teachers: Before you begin

I am about to begin working with my 3rd student teacher.  I have always found it to be a rewarding experience that requires lots of extra work on my part.  Here are some things that I recommend doing before you even begin.

1.  Contact the person.  Let them know you are looking forward to working with them.

2.  If possible meet with them and have them spend the day with you to get a feel for your teaching style.  This is also a great time for your students to meet them.

3.  Share your daily/weekly schedule.

4.  Also make some plans for yourself--when will you meet with them.  Before school?  After school?  How many times each week.  Where will they have some space that is theirs in your room?  A locker?  A table?  A desk?

5.  Communication is key!  Be as clear as you can be for both of you.

6.  Ask your student teacher what they are hoping to get from the experience, and ask her/him what (s)he needs from you.

7.  Plan to treat this person the way you would want to be treated.

8.  Think back to what it felt like for you to student teacher.  It's so easy to forget those feelings of fear the very first time you stood in front of the group of these little people and they expected you to teach.

9.  What role do you want this person to play from the beginning.  You may want them to be an observer, but I would quickly give them tasks related to classroom management and organization.  (Nothing in their training prepares them to check folders, sort office notes, do lunch count, clean off tables after lunch, or get kids into winter gear for recess!)

10.  Accept their limitations and yours.  Everyone has strengths and weakness.  Plan to find joy in their presence in your classroom.  It will make it a smoother more beautiful experience for everyone.

Are you working with a perservice teacher?  What are your tips?

Monday, December 29, 2014

What's Up In Room 14?

So it's hard to believe that the first half of the year is over.  Where did it go?

Tons of amazing and life changing stuff has happened, and I want to share it here, but in small doses.  Here are some of the topics that I have become more familiar and experienced with in the first half of this year:

  • Team Teaching
  • Differentiation
  • 2nd grade
  • Whole Brain Teaching
  • Social/ Emotional Education
  • Class Meetings
  • Waldorf Education and Parenting (My Sam is in a Waldorf school for Kindergarten, and it has changed my life!)
  • Soul Care for Teachers and Students
  • Showing Up to Love our students
  • Rafe Esquith's latest book
  • Mentoring Teachers
  • Mentoring PreService Teachers

It's crazy that with over 15 years of experience, I am still learning so much!  It's an every single day sort of thing for me!  It's overwhelming and exhausting, and I want to share it with you here.  So call out your peeps and invite them over because I'm bringing this bad boy back!

We ended December with our off, off, off, off Broadway production of The Gingerbread Kid Caper.  It is a school tradition, but it was my maiden voyage.  I worked with my team teacher.  She had the brilliant idea of turning the door area of her room (our performance hall) into a gingerbread house with gumdrops with everyone's name.

The students voted to make gifts for everyone who came to our performance.  (It was totally packed.)  So the week before we made yummy cinnamon ornaments.  Our recipe was 1 cup cinnamon (I know it's a ton.  I bought it at Aldi's for a buck a cup!), 3/4 c. applesauce, and 2 - 3 tablespoons of white glue.  I mixed by hand and rolled it out in a gallon ziploc bag.  I only gave the kids 2 cutters--trees and gingerbread.  It was just right. We used toothpicks to make the holes.  A couple parent volunteers ran sweet little strings through--that red and white bakers string.  Our class smelled great!

Looking forward to sharing so much more.

Happy 2015 to us all!
Where are you learning and growing professionally?