Stop, Continue, Start

Stop, Start, Continue - making goals for the new school year

As the new school year approaches (gasp!), I've been reflecting on some of my old and new practices. Here's a list of a few things I want to stop, continue, or start doing.

  • I want to stop forgetting to have warm-ups in my Algebra 2 Honors class.  I only have them one class period and sometimes I just forget.  I'm planning my daily schedule in that class a little differently this year, so hopefully that will help.
  • I want to stop collecting daily homework.  I like that I can check to see if students attempt every problem, but it just takes so long.  I'm going to walk around the class and check off their homework on my clipboard this year.  I'm sick of the paper pile!

  • I will continue to have students do their bellwork and classwork in their personal class notebooks.  It is so much better than individual sheets of paper.  Also, I can check them whenever I want.
  • I want to continue to blog, pin, and create for Teachers Pay Teachers.  I like sharing what I'm doing in my class.  I also love looking for and creating new things!  

  • I'm going to try incorporate foldables this year.  I'm not taking the full plunge into interactive notebooks, but I'm going to use them with their regular notes.  I need to get my feet wet first.
  • I have already planned to start using some 3 act math tasks this year.  I'll write more about them when I get to them.  My daily lessons need more real-life examples and critical thinking.  I'm so excited to try this!

What do you want to start, continue, and/or stop this coming school year?

You may also be interested in:   

Bellwork Keeps Me Sane


Avoiding Burnout

First Day of School Activities

Flipped Classroom Opinions

Tips for New Teachers

I'm by no means a seasoned veteran teacher.  However, I do have a few years under my belt and have learned some things along the way.  These are some things that I wished I had done from my very first year.
Are you a new teacher?  These tips and advice will help you get your classroom started on the right foot!

Assigned Seats
I've always given assigned seats.  However, my first year, I let the kids come in and sit down and then moved them into their seats.  Bad move.  The key is to have them go to their assigned seats immediately.  That way, you don't have to ask them to move, and you free up class time.  This didn't dawn on me until my second year.  I make cards with the kids names on them and put them on the desks right before the bell rings.  Then, the kids just have to find their name on their desk.  After that, whenever I change the seating arrangement, I just tape the new seating chart to the front board and the kids find their desk themselves.

Never Assume
Don't assume that your students know what you're talking about.  SHOW them.  Show them how to show their work, show them how to appropriately work with a partner, show them how to study, etc.  Even in high school, behavior modeling is important. Two years ago I had to have a discussion with my class about shadows.  Several kids didn't know that they were on the ground, not in the air. Honest.  I would hate for them to miss those test questions because they didn't understand shadows.

Have a Student Work Safe Place
Kids lose stuff.  I have sophomores that often lose their work.  Now, I have a special cabinet in the back of my room with a shelf for each class period.  Kids can leave their stuff on the class shelf if they're afraid they might lose it.  For some kids, this is a lifesaver.

Even if you're shaking in your shoes, fake it till you make it!  It's amazing how classroom management problems disappear when you're confident!

Make Copies in Advance
Our copy machine breaks all the time.  While it's always fixed promptly, I don't want to be in a rush and then deal with a broken machine.  I always make my copies in advance.  Every week, on Thursday or Friday I make all of my copies for the entire next week.  That way, I know I have everything I need.  It takes me a little while, but it's so worth it!

Keep an Extra Jacket in Your Classroom
Sometimes it gets cold.  Also, for ladies, keep pony tail holders in your desk.

Over Prepare
Over prepare each class period.  In the beginning it will take you a little while to figure out exactly how long each lesson or activity will take.  Eventually you will get into a rhythm and figure it out.  If you're over prepared, you don't have to worry.  However, if you're under prepared, that "extra time" can become wasted instructional time with kids getting into trouble.  Keep your students so busy that they don't have time to get into trouble.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, hopefully it helps at least a little.  If you're looking for further reading, I recommend The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong.  A few of the ideas are a little juvenile for high school, but they can easily be adapted.

Is there anything you wish you knew when you started teaching?

This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link.  This does not effect you in any way.  However, if you make a purchase through this link, I receive a very small commission.

Avoiding Burnout

Toward the end of the school year I started feeling it.  Burnout.  I was just tired.  I didn’t want to be at school and I didn’t want to think about math.  I think I was over doing it.  I had taken on more responsibilities and it was starting to get to me.  I was a mentor for a new teacher, the geometry team leader, the math department technology mentor, an academic assistance advisor, writing new posts for my blog, and creating new products for Teachers Pay Teachers.  On top of my regular teaching responsibilities, it was just too much!  So, I took a break.  I didn’t post for a while, I closed my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and I went back to my tried and true lessons for my classes. 

Today was my last day of teaching summer remediation.  I’m finally starting to feel like my regular teacher-self again.  I’m having creative ideas and I’m thinking about the upcoming school year.  I’ve set some goals for myself in the upcoming school year that I hope will keep me from feeling this way again.

  • Work out 3 times per week.  I’m usually pretty good about working out, but when I started feeling burned out, I stopped working out.  Working out keeps me sane!

  • Do not take work home during the week.  I don’t mind working at home some, but I think I just need a break sometimes.  I’ll bring things home on the weekend to prepare for the week, if needed, but that’s it.

  • Say no.  I’ve been given lots of extra responsibilities in just my short time teaching.  I’ve been teaching at my school three years and I’ve already been given leadership roles.  I think sometimes they forget that I’m still a young teacher.  I may need to say no sometimes.

For me, these goals are realistic.  I’m going to write them down and hang them near my desk.

What are your goals for the upcoming school year to keep your life balanced?

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