About Harry and Rosemary Wong...
Harry and Rosemary Wong are teachers. Harry is a native of San Francisco and taught middle school and high school science. Rosemary is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as the school media coordinator and student activity director.
Harry Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal. Rosemary was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year Award.
Harry Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today. He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense, user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success.
More than a half-million teachers worldwide have heard his message. Because he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for Teachers.Net so that more people can hear their message.
About Their Work...
Harry and Rosemary Wong are committed to bringing quality and dignity
to the materials they produce. For this, they have formed their own publishing
company, of which Rosemary is the CEO. They have dedicated their lives
to leaving a legacy in education and making a difference in the lives
of teachers and students.
The Wongs have written The First Days of School,
the best-selling book ever in education. Over 2.4 million copies have
A third edition of The First Days of School
has been released and includes an added bonus, an Enhanced CD featuring
Harry Wong. The Enhanced CD, Never Cease to Learn,
is dedicated to those teachers who know that the more they learn, the
more effective they become.
The Wongs have also produced the video series The Effective
Teacher, winner of the Telly Award for the best educational
video of the past twenty years and awarded the 1st place Gold Award in
the International Film and Video Festival.
They have released a new set of CDs, How To Improve Student Achievement, featuring Harry Wong as he speaks at one of his many presentations. He is the most sought after speaker in education and his presentations are legendary.
When the book, video series, and CD are used together, they form the
most effective staff training tool for developing effective teachers.
Staff developers and administrators who would like to know how to implement
the aforementioned book, video series, and CD are encouraged to consult
the book, New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and
Retain New Teachers. Information about these products can be found
by visiting the publisher's website at www.EffectiveTeaching.com
Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education
by Peter M. Senge (Editor), Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith
If you lost consciousness and passed out while teaching
your class, would your students—your kindergarten students—know
what to do? Heather Chambers’ kindergarten students
saved her life.
Heather Chambers, who teaches kindergarten in Denton, Texas, had
a diabetic seizure and collapsed in class. She describes,
“Nothing compares to what happened on Friday. You see,
I'm almost 7 months pregnant and was taking four insulin shots a
day to treat gestational diabetes.”
Because her class knew the procedure of what to do, they saved
her life. Chambers already had great success with the procedures
she used in her first year as a kindergarten teacher, however, as
a result of hearing us (Harry) during the subsequent summer, she
chose to implement additional procedures in her second year that
ended up saving her life—literally!
Because of her health condition, Chambers developed a very
simple, but highly effective procedure for her class in case she
had a seizure.
She explained her diabetic condition and insulin treatment to her
class. She said there was a small possibility that "Mrs.
Chambers could fall down and be so sound asleep that you won't be
able to wake me." She told them not to be afraid and
that people would come to help her if they would remember to do
what she was about to teach them.
First, she assigned one of her most calm students to go immediately
to the nurse, if she had a seizure. She also assigned another
student as a back-up.
She assigned another student to go next door to Mr. Williams’
room (another kindergarten teacher) and tell him that Mrs. Chambers
needed help. She assigned a back-up student here, too.
She told the rest of the class that it was their job to watch over
her until help came. To do this they were instructed to sit
quietly on their circle time carpet, criss-cross applesauce with
their hands in their laps.
Periodically, she would remind them of this procedure and
the class would verbally go over what they would do.
Chambers says, “On January 17th, I was standing in front
of my short filing cabinet, when I passed out. On the way
down, I cut my forehead open and began bleeding badly. When
I landed, I began to have a seizure. The student that was
assigned to go to the nurse momentarily froze. Another student
very quickly reminded her of her job and off she went, as did the
other child to Mr. Williams class.
“When the nurse arrived in my room, she said it was perfectly
quiet; all of my students were sitting, as taught, on the rug.
I had stopped breathing by this time and my eyes were wide open
with fixed and dilated pupils. She had the class removed quickly
and began to bring me back. My pulse was beginning to weaken.
“It amazes me that for children so young, they were able
to follow procedures to almost perfection. They didn't have
to figure out what to do. I didn't have to be conscious to
tell them what to do; they already knew. The procedure was
there to guide them, because Lord knows I wasn't the one leading
them that day. They saved my life and that of my unborn child.
They were that well-oiled machine that you explained to us this
“Classroom procedures saved my life.”
Chambers’ First Day of School
Heather Chambers begins her fourth year of teaching this year.
Here are the procedures she will teach on the first day of school.
My First Day of School
How to come into class and start the day
Learning station procedures
Computer and listening center procedures
Love and Logic
Teach and Practice
Restroom and drink procedures
Line-up and hallway procedures
Cleaning the classroom for the next day procedures
Social Studies: Introduction to School:
finding our way around the classroom and the school
Reading (Aloud): Miss Bindergarten
Goes to Kindergarten, David Goes to School, No David!
Writing: Learning to write our first
Mathematics: Calendar Math and working
Learning Stations: Puzzles, Alphabet
Bingo, Home Living, Block Play, Listening Center
Do You Have Emergency Procedures?
If you think that Heather Chambers’ story could not
happen to you, think again.
As this column is being written, Hurricane Charley hit Florida,
the worst hurricane to hit Florida in 12 years and the worst to
hit the west coast of Florida in over a century.
Weather problems are a natural phenomenon, whether it is a snowstorm,
tornado, hurricane, or earthquake. We also live in an era
of potential terrorist attacks, increased violence on campuses from
outside sources, and kidnappings. Our best defense for any
of these situations is training teachers and students in emergency
procedures. We also live in a litigious climate that subjects
us to lawsuits should children become injured, killed, or unaccounted
September is the perfect month for teaching and/or reminding students
of safety procedures for situations such as a lockdown, fire, or
earthquake, how to use the crosswalk, waiting on the curb for bus
pickup, and coming to school and returning home. In many states,
teachers are required to teach safety procedures. They are
to be documented in a teacher’s lesson plan book and could
be used later in case of an accident. Lesson plan and grade
books are considered legal documents by the court. There was
a time when a teacher taught safety just because you cared about
kids. Now, it can protect a teacher in a lawsuit.
To prepare for an emergency, at South Grand Prairie High
School in Texas, administrators regularly practice their lockdown
Teachers have informed their classes of the procedures and have
rehearsed these with their students. The lockdown drill provides
an opportunity to evaluate procedures. For instance, administrators
discovered that students in the theater were not able to hear the
announcement on the public address system.
Thus, the administrator responsible for sweeping that part of the
building now knows to check the theater to see if students are present.
School administrators have an evacuation plan that accounts
for every student, even if a particular student is not in the classroom.
If a crisis occurs during lunchtime or a passing period, administrators
can account for all students.
They’ve identified locations on campus that personnel can
go in case of biological and chemical emergencies. The school
mails a letter to parents to remind them to review the emergency
procedures at home as well.
Each classroom houses a customized folder with everything
the teachers might need, from pens to a highlighted escape route.
There's also a roster with the name of every student who takes classes
in those rooms. Emergency duffel bags with bullhorns, flashlights,
maps, and first-aid kits are placed throughout the school.
The staff and the students are trained in case an emergency arises.
Laurie Jay, a teacher in Saskatoon, Canada, has her class roster
affixed next to the doorjamb so that as she leaves the room with
her class, all she or a substitute teacher has to do, is reach up
for the class roster and have a list immediately handy to take the
In California, classrooms routinely practice “duck and cover”
drills. In case of earthquake or terrorist attack, all a teacher
has to do is call out “duck” and every child knows what
to do instantly.
A Generation of Threats
While some contend that all of the procedures for the violence
in nature and society being taught create a level of stress and
anxiety in students, we are reminded that it is our responsibility
to create a safe and caring environment. Effective teachers
and schools have a worst-case scenario handbook with procedures
rehearsed and ready for implementation.
The handbook should have a simple plan, and it should be in every
classroom. Security experts say the plan should include classroom
and building evacuation procedures and a list of whom to contact
in an emergency and instructions for dealing with a multitude of
situations. It should involve the entire school, custodians,
students, nurses, volunteers, cafeteria workers—anyone who
is regularly on campus.
If your school does not have such a plan, talk it over with your
administrator and suggest the beginning of one. And, what
are you doing in your classroom that addresses life-threatening
situations? We have received many letters that state, “Procedures
saved my life!” While it’s meant in a figurative
sense, in the case of Heather Chambers, procedures really did save
Procedures bring order to chaos, logic to confusion, and care to
anxiety. They are our best defense in these troubling times.
Do your part and prepare yourself and your students. Procedures
can and DO save lives!
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