Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tip #10: Get Some Support

After a particularly long day, when hurricane-like children have left for the day, the best medicine for your headache, I have found, is talking to a supportive colleague. Throughout my years of teaching, I have taugth at five different schools in very different environments. I have always found that the schools I enjoyed teaching at the most were the ones with people to talk to at the end of the day.

Why stick around to talk with your colleagues? One, it's great to know if the problems you are experiencing with Johnny in class happen in other classes. Or, maybe someone has found a great technique that works wonders with him. You never know! I always like to hear what happened in other classrooms as it is interesting to hear about a different style and way of teaching that I can think about incorporating into my own lessons.

I also like hearing about different lesson ideas. Even though I teach art and am the only art teacher in my building, it is interesting to hear how other teachers teach subjects. It often gives me ideas for new ways to introduce topics or go over other things such as parts of art history. Also, if one class is studying a unit about a particular culture, it give me an opportunity to add that culture into my own lesson plans and help students make connections across the curriculum.

Communication is key. It is always important to let other people know details about your students so the entire school can be helpful and supportive. Now, some details are private and kept to just classroom staff, but if a student is having a particularly difficult week and needs some extra praise if good behaviors are noticed, that is definitely something helpful coworkers could know.

I think that the students can tell how well the staff in the school communicate and that can either be an advantage or disadvantage. Gain the upper hand with clear communication!

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