teacher-advice

anonymous asked:

hi,i guess this isnt really the right place for me to ask for advice but i just want to rant a little bit. im a 16 yr old girl and everyone around me is in a relationship and im the only person without any experience. i just feel so lonely and i wish i was one of the girls that could make any guy fall in love w her but im not. i think im never gonna find someone who likes me and it makes me feel worthless. i know im young and stuff but its just hard when everyone around you is with someone.. xx

Hi there, funny that you say this isn’t the right place to ask for advice on this because I’m not sure you’ll find any profession with more experience helping teens with relationship advice than teachers. By sheer numbers, we probably even beat out counselors. We are in the unique position of very often being the closest advice-worthy-adult in striking distance when any number of students need it, so advice-giver is a firm part of the job on every subject imaginable. :)

I can tell you that, yes, you are young which you obviously know, and I can tell you that it will come in time, which you probably know if you’re honest, but it doesn’t help the wait, and I can tell you that good things are worth waiting for and find a gif of an inspiring sunset or something, but none of that helps  when you’re the one sitting, doing the waiting, while it feels like everyone else is passing you by. Loneliness is difficult and painful, no matter how temporary, so I’m sorry you’re going through this.

So instead, I’ll tell you this- the type of person you are looking for may not even be in your orbit right now which is why you’re alone. Not because you are worthless, but because you simply don’t have any realistically good choices for you yet. High school is this weird microcosm of bell to seat to bell where you have very little control over who you spend your days with, so when you graduate and move on into a job or to college, know that simply being able to control more of who you interact with each day will considerably change your odds of finding someone compatible. Once you have experience, as you say, when it happened doesn’t matter any more. Meaning that it feels like a big impending thing before all of that happens, and then once all the first times are over, it’s nothing at all. So it will be resolved in the near-ish future whether that’s six months or several more years, and the “when” of it really won’t matter past that day. Promise. When I started college, I had my roommate and the two suite mates next door, and between the four of us, we spanned from very experienced to never been kissed. Lack of experience is common at your age and well beyond. So you’re normal, and being concerned about it is normal, and it will happen, and it is worth the wait, and you’re worth the wait, and insert sunset here. Huge hugs for now, and best to you. <3 

Question for teachers: binder requirements?

I know many teachers require students to keep a binder and keep it organized in a specific way to best benefit their class. The teachers check the binders periodically to enforce organization and all that. This is something I’ve grappled with as a new teacher, and I’d love some opinions and ideas.

Do you require your students to maintain a binder for your class? Do you tell them how to organize it? Do you do binder checks?

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I want students to learn on their own. I want them to figure out how to be organized and see its benefits. On the other hand, I have realized this year that even though they’ve had teachers in elementary and middle school who have shown them how to organize a binder, many high school freshmen still don’t know how. They either don’t care or just don’t get it. I was so frustrated this year when students who were there every day would lose their warm up papers or other classwork, and then not get credit for them. And not care. At all. 

The idea of doing binder checks and all that just seems so micro-managing. It seems tedious. It seems like a pain in my neck. So I would love some feedback about this. Is it worth the time and energy? Has it worked in your class? Do I just need to suck it up because it’s beneficial?

Week 1 APUSH

If you’re in the US, week 1 of your school year likely either just started, or will start in the next few weeks. Here’s a few tips from your friendly teacher for that first week in APUSH. 

If you get a choice of where to sit, find a spot where you can see all of the board (SMARTboard, projection screen, whatever) without having to duck around other people’s heads, or other obstacles. I let my APUSH kids choose their seats, and on the first day they inevitably dive for the back row like they’re trying to establish a splash zone, but by the third or fourth day the students back there are doing the annoyed bob and weave trying to pick up the things at the bottoms of slides, etc. APUSH is usually a board-centered course. Establish a clear line of sight early on, if you can! 

Start to develop a note taking system. If you’ve taken previous content-heavy AP classes (histories and sciences, for the most part) you may have this down already, but, if not, APUSH may be your first experience having this much information thrown at you. APUSH classes almost always center around lectures I mean…#notallapushteachers, but realistically, basically all APUSH teachers lecture a substantial amount. It’s important to develop a note-taking style that works for you. My suggestions:

  • Hand write your notes. I know most of you are probably faster typists than writers, and it is tempting to type, if your school allows you to bring laptops. However, there have been NUMEROUS studies that support the fact that writing things out by hand inputs them into your memory more efficiently. 
  • Have colors available. My best students almost invariably end the year with some sort of color coding system in their notes, whether through highlighting or colored pens. Visual cues are important memory tactics. 
  • Practice, practice, practice. Taking notes is a skill, and like any other skill you will only get better if you keep working on it. Focus on writing as little as you can get away with and still retain the memory of the information. Don’t be afraid to try new things, or refine your techniques until you figure out what works for you.  If you feel like your early notes suck, don’t worry! Every year in March I make my kids look back at their notes from August/September and there is always an enormous difference in quality. 

Plan your reading - establish good habits early. APUSH classes will generally require you to do a lot of regular outside reading, either from the textbook or from primary sources. You need to develop a plan for how/when you want to accomplish this reading throughout the year, being realistic about your schedule and your habits. 

“I’m going to do all of my reading on Saturday mornings so I can leave my weeks free!”


Yeah, no. No you’re not. Saturday morning you’re going to be swaddled in blankets and six pages deep into @animalssittingoncapybaras

Or maybe you won’t, I don’t know you - you know you. So be realistic with yourself.

If you’re sitting there thinking ha ha ha teacher! I know me and I will NEVER do my reading. NEVERRRRR! Than I would gently suggest you switch your schedule, or resign yourself to a low grade in the class. Can you get by without doing all the reading in APUSH? Yes, definitely. Can you get by doing none of the reading in APUSH? Most likely not. 

Your teacher will likely give you a reading schedule ahead of time. Whether you have reading quizzes every day, or chapter tests every week, or however your class is sit up, try not to assume you can do more than 15 pages of textbook reading & note taking in one sitting, at least at first. You will get more efficient, eventually. So, if you have a 45 page chapter to read, make sure to block out at least three chunks of time to do that reading in - after school, before school, at lunch, during a study period, whenever. 

The beginning of the school year is probably the most motivated and willing you will ever be to do your APUSH reading, so set up good habits and patterns now, so that when Spring hits, with vacation, and Prom, and sports, and WARM WEATHER all luring you away, you’ll have some structure to draw on.


So, there you have it, week 1 apush: stake your claim to good seating real estate, start to establish your note taking system, and develop a workable reading schedule. Guess what; you’re ahead of the curve!

Oh, and remember to get your syllabus signed, why don’t ya? 

Advice to Aspiring Teachers

I’m not remotely a “veteran teacher” yet, but as I start off on year 7 of teaching, I have a few kernels of wisdom to pass along for those of you who find yourself becoming teachers. Or to those of you who need a refresher. 

1- Most Importantly:  Enjoy it!

Enjoy what you are teaching, because then your students will enjoy it more, too. You probably already know that, but it bears repeating. 

2- Second advice nugget (or maybe it’s part B of that last one): Even (and maybe especially) the kid that drives you INSANE needs some positive encouragement.

So, Enjoy your students. Try your best to find something to like/appreciate about each kid, because not only will help you be more patient with them,  it is vitally important for them. Maybe the most important thing they’ll get out of your class. 

3- Remember Real and Good Teaching is hard work.

So work hard, but remember to use your resources (books/curriculum, coworkers, the internet, teacherspayteachers, etc) and not to stress yourself out too much over a failed activity or a bad day. 

4- Don’t let it go to your head: RESPECT your studentsYou are in a position of authority, but don’t be an asshole.

The worst teachers are the kind who abuse their authority to demean or belittle their students. Don’t be that teacher. And if you have a bad day, which you are entitled to do because you are (contrary to popular belief) human, be up front about it. Tell your students “Hey, sorry guys, I’m having a rough day and I’m a little short on patience right now” - they deserve fair warning. Also, if you (also because you are human) are a jerk and speak unkindly to a student or a class, apologize. You are not above apologies just because you are a teacher. Pull a kid aside and apologize to them 1:1 if you were rude to just them. Or, you know: Humble yourself and apologize to a whole class if you have to. Don’t let your role as a teacher absorb the nastiness that comes out of all human beings sometimes and poison your teaching career. 

5- Fact: Your attitude sets the mood in your classroom.

Don’t underestimate this power. Wield it carefully and intentionally.

6- I totally understand that it isn’t possible 100% of the time, but: Explain your reasoning for what you are doing in class!

Sometimes teachers give a directive that seems pretty pointless, but actually has a lot of purpose. Explaining the purpose of an activity can change the way a student views it/participates in it. I mean, you might know why you’re doing something, as a teacher, but the students might be sitting there like “wtf, this is dumb” unless you explain the actual reasons, at least from time to time! Now, whether it will actually help change students attitudes regarding classwork is also up to the student, but I think (sadly) teachers are prone to generally underestimate students’ intelligence - Give them the benefit of the doubt and help them see the why behind the what of the things that go down in your classroom. 

7- Tip: Behave as if you are the only adult role model kids might have, because you might be. 

Hopefully, God willing, your students are from loving families that take good care of them and love them and help them grow up into responsible and healthy adults … but that is not even usually the case. Everybody needs stable role models - people to emulate. You might not feel confident about being that person, but you are in a position of visibility that makes it inevitable that people will look at the way you act/live your life. Please live accordingly. 

8- Seriously: Don’t be afraid to have a good time in your classroom.

LAUGH at things. If somebody says something funny (and I do NOT mean unintentionally) then give yourself the freedom to bust out laughing at it! I know this feels like I’m repeating #1 here, but it’s a little different. 

9- VerbalizeSay the Good stuff.

If someone does a great job on something: tell them. If you like a student’s idea, tell them. If you think a doodle on a quiz is awesome: TELL THEM. Notice the good stuff, and do it out loud. I still remember some of the little things that teachers said to me that made all the difference, even in something so little as noticing/complimenting my perfume. 

10- and I promise this is the last one, I wasn’t even going to write this many, but I have to in case anybody reads it: CARE

Just because a kid looks like they are doing okay on the outside doesn’t mean they are okay. Never type-cast your students as “lazy”, “slow”, “troublemakers” or “problem-children”. They are far, far, far more complex than some oversimplified label you might give them. You don’t know their whole story, and quite frankly: they don’t know you well enough to give it to you just because you’re their teacher. So, even if it’s hard, even if you’re sick of an attitude or behavior (which I do understand is rough - students sometimes act like you’re not human, and that’s tough to take in and not eventually dish back) please strive to AUTHENTICALLY care. 

Offer to help a confused student - or, you know, if you can tell one student is having a hard time but know they might be embarrassed to ask for help, find a creative way to help them out. Take a minute to express your sadness if a student shares that their pet died. Keep granola bars in your desk, in case somebody doesn’t have a lunch or missed breakfast. Ask if somebody is okay if they seem a little off - even if it’s just by writing them a note on a post-it and subtly sticking it on their desk. Just: be kind

In this world you can do absolutely anything you choose, but you cannot do everything. Choose wisely and when you do be prepared to accept the consequences and potential rewards that may come with your choice.
—  Douglas Winkel, my English teacher Senior Year

Today I was subbing a 6th grade art class. One of my students had a behavioral plan “point card” which was weird because he was an angel during my class. At the end of class I walked by and realized that he hadn’t done any of his quiz. I was frustrated because I had asked several times if anyone needed help, why hadn’t he spoke up?! So I swallowed my frustration and sat down and asked him what’s up? He just shrugged his shoulders and said it was too hard.

Since the student was Latino, I went out on a limb and translated (very roughly) the first question into Spanish. He looked at me, first surprised, then he smiled and gave me the correct answer. After that we went through the rest of the worksheet with me asking the questions in my very rudimentary Spanish and him giving the right answer every time and even helping me with some vocabulary.

Now I wonder, considering he had been totally pleasant the entire class, how much of his behavior plan is simply based on teachers writing him off as being stubborn, instead of taking the time to realize he wasn’t understanding the questions? How could a teacher even be expected to help with classes sizes exceeding 40? How many other kids could I help if I took the time to really figure out their behavior instead of just being frustrated with them?

I got bit...

Hey veteran tumblr teachers,

SO I could use some advice.  I got bit (several times) by one of my ED students last week- he’s ten and was very physically and verbally aggressive to me.  Of course I understand that there are underlying issues and such going on for him and of course I still love him dearly but the whole thing was a little traumatic.  He’s been suspended for a week by the head of school, though I’m not sure he knows why.  Has anyone been in a similar situation? What can I do to a) feel comfortable around him when he comes back? and b) support him and help him feel safe and comfortable in the classroom?

In the classroom

·         If students aren’t responding, do something different.

·         Resist generalizations, there is no “they” – there is 25 different and unique students.

·         Inspire curiosity.

·         Smile because of what you do, not how your day is going.

·         Realize that students are growing up in a world very different to the one you grew up in.

·         Help students to see their own potential.

·         It is not about you.

·         You are not there to teach, you are there to help students learn, but you are accountable when they’re not leaning.

·         What students might be going through at home is far more important that today’s lesson.

·         Don’t raise your voice, and be very very careful with sarcasm.

·         Use analogies.

·         Ask questions.

·         Move around the room.

·         Create your own learning space.

·         Prioritize.

·         Students will not forget how you make them feel.

Funny story - A lesson in writing confidence

Today one of my students was torn about ending her short story with a cliff hanger. After asking several of her friends if she should change it, to which they all answered, “No way! Leave it!” She raised her hand to ask my opinion.

Ms. Ross to the rescue.

I read it and looked at her, my mouth gaping because the ending fucking kicked ass. I said, “Girl that was phenomenal. You have to leave it!” Beaming at her all the while.

“Are you sure?” she asked, covering her mouth, unsure, but jittery with excitement that I reacted like I did.

At the same moment her friends yelled, “told you! Leave it!!”

I laughed and winked at her. I was like, “Leave it. Readers FLOCK to cliff hangers. It’ll keep them coming back for more. I do it every so often in my writing so I know I have my audience hooked. Works like a charm.”

She laughed and kept it. I was so proud of her for not continuing to doubt herself and believing that what she did was awesome.

Moral: Believe in yourself, writers. What you’re doing in fucking AWESOME! You guys blow my mind with your talent.

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

Some bits of advice I overheard today:

“You’re doing the best you can. Remember that.”

“Even if you’ve had the worst day you can remember, it’s important that you can find one good thing that happened that day.”

“Don’t ever surround youself with people who spend most of their time complaining. Go for a walk instead. I can guarantee you the results will be so much better.”