Teachers who have taught for a few years know that every individual class takes on its own personality. Hopefully it is not a clash of personality, but a class of personality. Each of the individuals in the room add to create one overall classroom “personality.” Even one or two new students moving into or leaving a classroom can change the entire culture and dynamic of the room.
Over the past few decades, more and more information has been unpacked around the area of sensory issues with students. Some of this has come from research about the autism spectrum, while some has come from other areas of the medical field, including allergies, processing disorders, and the like.
In a classroom, it can be difficult to not only understand all of these needs, but to also help students who have them. Teachers are not medical experts by any means, but with a little background knowledge, it can be easier to understand our students and how to help them. In our three-part Sensory Series, we’ll be exploring the different ways to approach varying sensory needs.
We are constantly striving to enhance the learning process, but one of the biggest challenges we may face when trying to effectively teach our students is their behavior. Students come to us without the ability to cope and manage in the classroom—they can often struggle to focus and attend to the learning. Some of these behaviors and more common and more extreme than they were in the past.
Because of this, it is important for teachers to be ready for these students stepping into their classrooms. Having a plan is always important, so here is a guide for how to put together a data-driven behavior improvement plan for an individual student.
The beginning of the year is the best time to set goals. It is not only a clean slate for all the kids and the teachers, but there is a great deal of openness to achieve and grow. The whole year is in front of us!
First, let’s make sure we understand why we should set goals. Goals are important not just for growth, but for clarity of priorities. Like Steven Covey told us in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we should all begin with the end in mind. By doing this, we know where we are headed and where we want to go—it gives us a target for the rest of the year. As we make progress (or don’t), we can adjust the goals as we go. But unless we know a destination, we can’t start down a path.
Staying with this year’s personal device trend, part two of our app series is all about apps for administrators. Here’s our list of the top ten app picks for administrators:
Whether you're a building principal, department head, or member of a grade-level team, there's a good chance you'll be working with new teachers as you start the school year. Being strategic and systemic as you meet with the teachers can be an important first step to starting the school year off right.
Over the years, I have found—and there is research to support this—that there is a power to a common language and common behavioral expectations across a school building. If teachers, secretaries, paras, and custodians are all on the same page when it comes to expectations for behavior, the school runs more smoothly and unwanted behaviors decrease.
Lives are busy and people are busy, so we have to make sure we plan in advance if we want parents and patrons to be engaged in our schools. Parent engagement can take on many different shapes and sizes—for all the different parents we encounter, we receive varying preferences for how they like to communicate.
In 1999, an influential leadership and management book called First Break All the Rules was published—if you are a leader of an organization in any capacity, I would recommend it. I see all of my teachers as teacher leaders, so if you are a teacher, you should take a look. The follow-up book, Now Discover Your Strengths, is just as profound.
“Positive relationships with students.” “Making strong connections.” “Being relatable to your students.” No matter how I ask about it in an interview, it all essentially means the same thing. Can the teacher connect with students? I ask it every time, and it is one of the most important questions of the interview.
Here's why this is critical: Connecting with students not only relates back to the student’s sense of belonging in school, it's also heavily tied to motivation. If a student isn’t motivated in the classroom, the teacher’s first “go-to” should be to try to connect with them. This should come before any incentive program or consequence for lack of trying.