This post does not offer mind-bending revelations about teaching or groundbreaking advice. (Do any of them?) My student teacher asked me for some oddball tips, things not in the books that might help him. So here they are, off the top of my head, sliding down the cuff and written down on a Friday at the end of May. Ay, ay, ay. If you can add to this list, please do so.
1. Get an electric stapler for your desk.
2. Get a phone from a garage sale that is programmable (for speed) and has a speaker feature (good for student parent teacher immediate conferences) and an answering machine.
3. Groom teaching assistants (if you’re lucky enough to have one) well and reward them generously.
4. Get an electronic time/date stamp for fast passes. (You can buy them used at time clock stores.)
5. Greet students warmly, at the door.
6. What ever your personal style, dress as well as you can, everyday (clean, ironed, non-offensive). Did I say clean?
7. Stand outside during passing time as much as possible.
8. Lock up all valuables, everyday, all the time, always.
9. Get a fish tank and delegate the care and feeding.
10. Give kids regular chores in the room and rotate them. Even older kids like the responsibility and it engenders ownership of the room.
11. Take time to play board games like checkers and chess at lunchtime with your students. You’ll get really good at checkers.
12. Catch students doing the right thing.
13. Praise little achievements with challenged students.
14. Notice shy people.
15. Notice good behavior, or a turn to good behavior, with praise.
16. Develop a wide vocabulary for praise beyond “good job.”
17. Get an electric tea kettle.
18. Keep your room clean and remember the broken window theory.
19. Don’t socialize your prep away.
21. Eat fruit.
22. Write notes and letters to students.
23. Use plastic sheet covers on the seating chart for quick notes.
24. Buy a packet of good earplugs and use them at rallies.
25. Put your keys on a skinny cord, sports type nylon lanyard. Click Here to Get From Amazon
26. Keep a change of clothes and shoes in the classroom.
27. Use sick leave only when you’re sick. Unused sick leave is added to your retirement. You could end up with an added year or more in service at the end of your career.