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Author: lagoodson

The Power of Procedures

You’ve heard it before, but after a month of teaching, you might want a quick reminder. Here are a few ideas on why procedures can help you have a more effective classroom so you can get to the task of teaching, rather than disciplining. There’s plenty on the Internet about this, but here are a couple of favorites that make some key points for whatever grade level you’re teaching:

Harry Wong

10 Reasons

In the Classroom: Karissa Hammock

Karissa Hammock stands in her new classroom. (Note the appropriate level of purple decorating the room!)

Name: Karissa Hammock

School district: Geary County USD 475 – Junction City Middle School

City/State: Junction City, KS

Class/content area taught: 8th Grade Mathematics

What are you most excited about with your new career? I am most excited about teaching middle school and all the students that will come through my doors. So many lives are shaped in these 2-3 years and I think that as teachers of middle levels, we have the unique opportunity to not only be part of these crucial developmental years, but to guide and support these students in the right direction.

What you enjoy most about teaching: I enjoy teaching, especially middle level, because every day is a new adventure. I am excited to come to school and see just where my classrooms will go that day. I also have to mention that I enjoy teaching math. So many students struggle with their confidence to do that math and they don’t believe they have the ability. I love seeing kids become excited about math in my class and seeing that math is everywhere and there are so many ways that they can all be good at math.

In what ways has your school/district supported you? This district has been wonderful at welcoming new teachers into the schools and community. New teachers came back a week before everyone else for induction, integration and professional development with our schools, mentors, district administrators and community leaders. They were terrific at making new teachers feel like they were a part of the district and supported through mentoring programs and ongoing training.

What are some specific things you believe KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career? Kansas State and the College of Education helped prepare me in a huge way. Schools are implementing new programs that we as new graduates learned about in our classes so we already have a head start! Math content classes were great with helping to understand the math standards and unit planning and I feel incredibly prepared to step out on my own!

Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Your first few weeks are going to be a whirlwind, even before school starts. You will hear so much information and you will feel overwhelmed! Stay organized from the start. Write down questions as you go! Find a mentor that can answer any questions you might have and don’t be afraid to ask the smallest questions like “Where in this schedule am I going to be able to go the bathroom?” when you only have 2 minutes for passing between classes. It will sometimes seem impossible but just remember why you became a teacher. To teach the kids. So just breathe and everything else will fall into place.

Come on Back for Homecoming!

pennant with Go Team! written on it

It’s almost time for Homecoming, and we’d love to have you return to the K-State campus! It’s a 102-year-old tradition, and you should be a part of it.

The theme for this year is “Purple Pride Worldwide.” As always, there will be lots to do throughout Homecoming Week, Oct. 15-21, highlighted by the homecoming parade and a pep rally. And don’t forget the football game Oct. 21, with K-State taking on the University of Oklahoma.

Here are a couple of links to more specifics about the events:

Parade and Pep Rally

The 5K Philanthropy Run/Walk

And, in case you’ve forgotten: WEAR LOTS OF PURPLE!

It’s Time to Meet the Parents

parent-teacher-conferenceEven the most veteran of teachers can find Parent/Teacher conferences a little uncomfortable, but being prepared will help you make the most of this important opportunity. So let’s get prepared by considering the following:

BEFORE THE CONFERENCES

  • Have meaningful grades in your grade book so you can talk about the child’s progress.
  • Take time to get to know each student so you can demonstrate at the conference that you’ve made a personal connection with the student.
  • Learn as much as possible about the process for parent/teacher conferences.  Some schools require that the student take an active part in the discussion, so make sure your students are prepared, as well.
  • Compile (or have your students compile) folders of their work to share with their parents/guardians. Include writings, assignments, assessments, and artwork to showcase their learning so far this year. You may want to add other items, such as grades, assessment results, and other items to share, as well.
  • Find out what materials and information teachers traditionally share at the conferences, since it can vary greatly from school to school and district to district.
  • Know the details of the conferences—when, where, guides on how much time to spend with each student’s parent/guardian, when to suggest an individual meeting to have more extensive discussions, etc.
  • Prepare a flier with important upcoming dates, a list of needed classroom items if they would like to contribute, and a brief look at upcoming important dates to help them be involved in their student’s education.

AT THE CONFERENCES

  • Step No. 1: Smile and introduce yourself. Be the first to offer a handshake.
  • Realize that the parents/guardians are taking time from their busy schedule to visit with the child’s teachers. Since we encourage family involvement in their child’s education, we need to appreciate their efforts. Be sure to thank them for attending.
  • Make comments about concerns and accomplishments specific to that student.
  • Provide specific ideas on areas where you’d like to see the student improve; provide specific suggestions on how the parent/guardian can help make that happen.
  • Be prepared to answer if a parent or guardian asks when he or she can do to help. That’s a golden opportunity you don’t want to overlook. Many times parents want to help, but they’re unsure just how to do that.
  • Make sure they know you value their input; provide additional contact information, and encourage them to contact you with any concerns or ideas.
  • Keep track of which students have individuals attending the conference on their behalf. Many schools provide a sign-in sheet; if not, consider creating a roster so you’re aware of who attended and who didn’t.
  • Review the list and consider making a personal effort to get parents/guardians of students you’re especially concerned about to set up an individual appointment with you.
  • Following the conferences, briefly thank your students for having their parents/guardians attend the conferences. However, don’t overdo this; in many cases, the students can’t help it if the adults in their lives decline the opportunity to attend the conferences.

Follow These Links to Great Ideas

The COE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction is looking out for you! Here are some links our colleagues believe provide some useful ideas as you get settled into your new profession:

Five things you need to know

Beating the Stress of the Classroom

Balancing the Art of Teaching

Parent Outreach

Sign up for Literacy Briefs

Special thanks to Mrs. Lou Ann Getz for providing several of these links!

We Want to Hear From You!

e-mail iconDo you have a question about classroom procedures? Or a suggestion for a topic we should address in Before the Bell? Want to add your name to our mailing list? Or provide a different email for our mailing list? Or, why don’t you send us a photo of you at work in your classroom!

Early-career teachers, feel free to jump in and offer suggestions to those who are following your career choice!

We’d love to hear from you, so please email us at lagoodson@k-state.edu.

Go, COE Cats!