by Harry and Rosemary Wong
Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations
In real estate, the three magic words are location, location, location.
In teaching, the three magic words are prepare, prepare, prepare. Then prepare some more! And finally expect the unexpected, as it will happen. The good news is that when the unexpected occurs, it is the prepared who will best survive and succeed. The unsuccessful teacher begins the first day of school, the start of a lesson with little notion as to what the sequence of the event or lesson will be. And then when things go wrong, the teacher is flustered because there is no backup plan.
A First Day of School Script
The effective teacher is prepared. We had the pleasure of writing our first teachers.net column two years ago in June 2000 http://teachers.net/gazette/JUN00/covera.html. We shared the story of Melissa Pantoja and what she did to begin her first day as a brand new teacher, and the success she had.
Reflecting on her first day of school as a first year teacher, Melissa Pantoja shared with us,
"My first day of school was a success. Each of my students had a place to sit and an art number, which they would use for the duration of the year. I let them know what I expected and that each of them would be successful.
"Classroom management and having a procedure for everything is a key factor in success, but I have also found that having a place for everything and everything in its place is also very important. I feel that studying The First Days of School and using the suggested strategies was a key factor in the overwhelming joy I feel when thinking about this first year."
The source of her joy and success is very simple. Melissa had a script ready for her first day of school. Football coaches go into a game with a script of their first 15 to 20 plays. Meeting and wedding coordinators have a script of what needs to be done. And effective teachers have a script that helps them to organize the first day or days of school.
If you do not structure your classroom,
the students will structure the classroom for you.
Melissa's success and your success can be summed up with the single word - PROCEDURES. The effective teacher
- develops procedures for every possible circumstance,
- teaches those procedures,
- practices those procedures, and
- enforces those procedures.
Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations
A student said, "I like coming to this school because everyone knows what to DO. No one yells at us and we can get on with learning." The key operative verb is "DO."
- Unsuccessful teachers talk constantly about BEHAVIOR or DISCIPLINE.
- Successful teachers talk about students DOING and PERFORMING.
Students who know at the onset of school how the classroom is supposed to run will be much more successful in their studies. These procedures also prevent problems related to teacher absences, fire or severe weather drills, storm days, and any other interruption in the normal classroom routine.
Students will perform better when they know what the teacher expects of them. Students have a right to know their teacher's expectations. Be prepared and life will not be a series of excruciating events. Rather, life will be happy and stress-free. http://teachers.net/gazette/FEB02/wong.html
Teaching procedures is teaching expectations.
The Essential Question to Ask
It was Plato who said,
"It is how you begin that is the most important."
We would like to share another first day of school script with you. For this we thank Sasha Michaels, who teaches just outside of Seattle, for sharing her script and her experience with us. Like Melissa Pantoja, she was a first year teacher this past year. While preparing to be a teacher, she worked at Domino's Pizza. Even though she had left Domino's years ago and stayed home to raise a child, she could recall explicitly the Domino's induction program for training their drivers. It was a ten-day program.
Thus, when Sasha went looking for a teaching job, she just assumed that the school or the school district would have a training program, too. After all, in every aspect of the real world, people are trained. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and American Airlines train their employees. Every local small business---real estate office, dentist, and grocery store---trains its new workers. Compare this with many schools where training is non-existent. It's little wonder that the teachers don't succeed---and that their students don't succeed either---resulting in the teachers not staying. What happens? Administrators, who do not know what to do, hire yet more unsupported teachers or just assign teachers a mentor. As a result, many promising new teachers leave the profession after only a few years. The classroom becomes a revolving door with teachers constantly rotating in and out of the profession. Soon the spinning gets out of control and the door abruptly stops sending everyone slamming and grabbing and holding on for dear life. We are at that juncture in education today. We have a pile up in the door and seemingly no means to take command of the jam. We need to spend more time training, supporting, and retaining teachers to quell the mass exiting from our ranks.
All too commonly, new teachers are hired, handed a key, given an assignment, and told to go forth and teach. Many are never introduced to their colleagues, nor even walked to their room. As one teacher said,
"I walked to the other building in a daze. Wasn't somebody going to walk over with me and tell me a little bit about what to expect? Wasn't anyone going to show me where the bathroom was or tell me what the other teachers do for lunch? Wasn't I going to get a few words of encouragement, or, for heaven's sake, an idea of what time the first period started? I felt very alone. I started to really understand that I was totally on my own."
Sasha was alerted to the great possibility that schools commonly give no support to their new teachers. On the other hand, she also knew that effective schools and school districts, who cared that their teachers succeed, have an induction program. She knew this because she's our cousin.
So, we spent two years preparing her for her first year as a teacher.
- We taught her how to structure a classroom management system for success.
- We taught her how to teach procedures.
- We taught her how to exhibit positive expectations.
We also told her to ask at the interview if the school had an induction program, much like Domino's or any business would have a training program for new employees. After all, administrators who wanted their teachers to succeed would teach their teachers how to succeed, like Bridget Phillips in Las Vegas http://teachers.net/gazette/JAN02/wong.html, Kathy McCollum in Medford http://teachers.net/gazette/MAR02/wong.html, and Joe Majchroicz in Illinois http://teachers.net/gazette/APR02/wong.html. That seemed like common sense to her.
At her interview, the principal said, "Yes, we have an induction program."
With that reassurance, Sasha Michael started teaching mid-year in a newly formed class and was given a mentor, who turned out to be a buddy from the same department. The so-called mentor had no clue as to what a mentor was to do, having received no training, compensation, or released time. She simply was acting on behalf of the principal. Sasha found her to be a nice person, but got nothing tangible or pragmatic that she could use.
No induction program ever materialized and she soon discovered a not too supportive administration. In fact the vice-principal joked that she did not think Sasha would last the week. That was the expectation of the administration.
Sasha taught in Washington and from a Washington State Public Policy survey conducted in 1999, it was learned that 75 percent of mentors observed their beginning teachers only 2 hours or less last year, and almost half never saw their novice teach.
Another First Day of School Script
We present Sasha's script because using another teacher's script as an example will help you hone your own script for the start of the next school year. Even with the best of preparation for the first day of school, not every day will go smoothly for you. Accept that there are some circumstances that truly hinder your success. But being prepared is the best strategy to use to prevent problems.
If you have a script, please share it with us at the address shown at the end of this column. It can be E-mailed to us or sent to us at Harry K. Wong Publications, 943 North Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043. We'd honor the opportunity to share your success with others.
When Sasha began her teaching career, this was her first day of school script.
First Day of Class
Mrs. Sasha Michael's Core Class
Before class prep
- Put name cards and student information sheets on each desk
- Turn on overhead projector and place seating chart and 1st assignment on it
- Go outside and remind the students who arrive early to stand in a single file line so they can be properly greeted and welcomed to class
Greet each student at the door
- Give each student a card with his or her seating assignment on it; tell them they will also find their name on a card at their seat
- Tell students the directions for their first assignment are on the overhead; they may begin as soon as they are in their seat
- Finish greeting last students to come to class
Welcome students to the new 7th grade core class
- Congratulate them all for being chosen for the new core class
- Tell them I will be their teacher for all four core subjects
- Explain when their PE/Small group and Elective periods will be
- Tell them I am looking forward to an excellent school year in which I know they will all succeed
- My name
- A little about my husband and daughter
- Where I am from and where I live
- Education and experience
- Tell them why I love teaching and why I think 7th graders make the best students
Entering and leaving the classroom; end of day dismissal
- Teach entry procedure (role play)
- Teach midday moving procedure (role play)
- Teach end of day dismissal and leaving class procedure
Rules and procedures
- Give each student a copy of rules to be placed and kept in the front of their binder
- Discuss rules and consequences
- Give each student a copy of the procedures to be placed and kept in the first section of their binder
- Discuss procedures and teach some of the most commonly used procedures
- Talk about Daily Assignment Log Book
- Let them know that paper heading procedures have not changed
Core lesson assignments and expectations
- What units will be covered in each subject
- DOLs, POWs, SSOWs, SSR are department wide and will continue
- Daily Warm-ups
- Help them to set up their Notebooks, make sure they all have their agendas
- Keep rules and procedures and daily agendas in Section 1
- Set up the rest of the notebook based on period schedules
- They should keep all papers handed back for future use and in chronological order
- Daily Closure Journals
- DOLs, POWs, SSR will still be done
- Explain these if there are new students
- Talk about how vocabulary should be done
- Discuss what a good paragraph looks like and the use of punctuation
- Talk about what we will be doing during this unit
- SSOWs will still be done
- Explain this for any new students
- Talk about Current Events
- Discuss Unit
- Minute Math
- Talk about the new book and what we will be learning
- Quizzes and tests
- Interdisciplinary Math projects
- Talk about hands on approach
- Assignment expectations
- How to behave during experiments
- Discuss unit we are going to begin
- Long term projects
Sasha Michaels exceeded the vice-principal's expectation that she would not last a week and finished her first year of teaching.
She explained that had she not had her beginning of school script, she would have left that first week and the profession would have lost a very valuable asset!
Wisely, she is moving on to another school district where she can find more support. She surmises now that the principal either had no clue as to what was a new teacher induction program or thought that assigning a mentor was considered sufficient induction.
As she moves on, this time she will be a lot smarter. When she asks if the district or the school has an induction program, she will ask the ten questions about a true induction program listed in last month's column http://teachers.net/gazette/MAY02/wong.html. The issue for new teacher success is support. Support begins with a comprehensive, district induction program.
The Smoothest Beginning of School
Sharyn Appolloni, a staff developer in Reno, Nevada, says, "I was asked to speak to a high school faculty to help them prepare for the first day of school. The principal wanted me to give them suggestions about tardy policies, etc. I decided to spend the two hours showing parts of the video, The Effective Teacher, and explaining how to 'teach' procedures and practice them, including tardy and dismissal procedures, among others.
"Three days after school started, the assistant principal called me to say it was the smoothest beginning of a school year he had witnessed in 26 years of being an educator."
Procedures and routines established early in the school year free up the rest of the year to be devoted to teaching and learning in the content areas. More on this can be found in Chapter 20 of our book, The First Days of School.
It is the procedures that set up the class for success to take place.
When the Students Succeed, Everyone Succeeds
Christine Neilson teaches at Holy Name of Jesus Middle School in Indialantic, Florida. She writes and tells us that she developed a new way to bring her class to attention when class begins.
A student from Taiwan, new to America, was placed into her classroom. The students all learned in Chinese how to say, "How are you?" (Ni how ma) and "Fine" (How).
She says, "We begin each class the moment the bell rings when I greet them by stating, 'Ni how ma.' They reply, 'How,' and we are off and learning, not wasting one minute. We finished our textbooks in four classes today (May 18) and the children applauded with much pride---they worked so hard.
"Our school has also gotten quieter as our principal, Mrs. Scriver, simply rings a set of chimes for assembly to begin in the morning on the pavilion, as suggested at your in-service when you came to speak at our Diocese. The children quiet down immediately and it is such a nice way to begin the day.
"Most importantly, we were notified today that our school was awarded the National Blue Ribbon award. Yes, when the students succeed, I succeed, and the school succeeds. What a nice life!"
Procedures definitely set up the class for success to take place.
Our Expectations of You
First and foremost, find a school that will support you with an organized induction program. If you are fortunate enough to be in a school or district with a true induction support program, take advantage of all of the learning opportunities that will exist. If you are not in a school with an induction program, start looking now for a new place to practice your talents.
If you are returning to the classroom, use your new-found wisdom and experiences to help other novice teachers in your building. Remember, education is a sharing profession.
Enjoy your time away from the classroom. Use it as a time to reorganize yourself personally and professionally so you can look forward to an even better school year. Focus on the start of school and be able to visualize how smoothly it will flow. Tweak all of the problem areas you had last year. Go into chat rooms here at teachers.net to discuss with your colleagues different approaches to the situations in your classroom.
Prepare in June, Prepare in July, Prepare in August for an even better school year. Life is exceedingly nice when you are prepared and the class runs smoothly. Expect it. You deserve nothing less!
Gazette Articles by Harry & Rosemary Wong:
If you spot a link that appears to be out-of-date, please alert us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- A Grateful Goodbye After 15 Years (Jun 2015)
- Love, Marriage, and Babies, Oh My! (May 2015)
- Retention Rate Is 100 Percent (Apr 2015)
- Teacher Effectiveness and Human Capital (Mar 2015)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Feb 2015)
- Making Deals Is Ineffective (Dec 2014 / Jan 2015)
- Retrieving and Carrying Electronic Devices (Nov 2014)
- Sharing to Succeed (Oct 2014)
- How a University Prepares Its Students (Sep 2014)
- Effective Teaching (Aug 2014)
- Your Future Is in Your Hands (June/July 2014)
- The Classroom Management Book (May 2014)
- When Students Succeed; Teachers Succeed (April 2014)
- Teaching New Teachers How to Succeed (March 2014)
- Execute and Praise (February 2014)
- Shaping a Solid Foundation (Dec 2013 / Jan 2014)
- The Most Misunderstood Word (November 2013)
- How to Start Class Every Day (October 2013)
- Prevention: The Key to Solving Discipline Problems (September 2013)
- Planning, Planning, Planning (August 2013)
- Are You THE One? (June / July 2013)
- Practical Examples That Work (May 2013)
- A Disability Is Not a Handicap (Apr 2013)
- Totally Inexcusable (Mar 2013)
- Be Proud of Public Education (Feb 2013)
- Structure Will Motivate Students (Dec 2012 / Jan2013)
- Orchestrating the Classroom (Nov 2012)
- The Lasting Impact of Instructional Coaching (Oct 2012)
- Learning, Laughing, and Leaving a Legacy (Sep 2012)
- Twenty-two, First Year, and Legit (Aug 2012)
- A Master Teacher of Teachers (June/July 2012)
- Where Going to School Means Success (May 2012)
- A Nationally Celebrated High School (Apr 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 2 (Mar 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 1 (Feb 2012)
- The Importance of Culture (Dec 2011 / Jan 2012)
- You Can Teach Classroom Management (Nov 2011)
- Seamless, Transparent, and Consistent (Oct 2011)
- Coaching Teachers to Be Effective Instructors (Sep 2011)
- How a Principal Creates a Culture of Consistency (Aug 2011)
- Graduation Begins in Your Classroom (June/July 2011)
- The Inspiration of a Mother (May 2011)
- How to Be an Effective Leader (Apr 2011)
- Learning Objectives: The Heart of Every Lesson (Mar 2011)
- Even Shakespeare Had Structure (Feb 2011)
- Effectiveness Defined: It's Not a Mystery (Dec 2010 / Jan 2011)
- Surviving Without a Principal (Nov 2010)
- Achieving Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 2 (Oct 2010)
- Teaching Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 1 (Sep 2010)
- Effective from the Start (Aug 2010)
- Ten Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2010 (June/July 2010)
- The Success of a Culture of Consistency (May 2010)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Apr 2010)
- Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn (Mar 2010)
- Turning Teaching Dreams into Reality (Feb 2010)
- Dreams and Wishes Can Come True (Dec 2009 / Jan 2010)
- Success in a State Controlled School (Nov 2009)
- Inner City Is Not An Excuse (Oct 2009)
- Exceeding All Expectations (Sep 2009)
- Teachers Are the Difference (Aug 2009)
- Nine Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2009 (Jun/Jul 2009)
- Teachers Are the Greatest Assets (May 2009)
- The Tools for Success (Apr 2009)
- Assessing for Student Learning (Mar 2009)
- To Be an Effective Teacher Simply Copy and Paste (Feb 2009)
- The Sounds of Students Learning and Performing (Dec 2008)
- A School That Achieves Greatness (Nov 2008)
- Boaz City Schools: Professional Learning Teams (Oct 2008)
- It Was Something Close to a Miracle (Sep 2008)
- A Computer Teacher Shows the Way (Aug 2008)
- Eight Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2008 (Jun/Jul 2008)
- An Amazing Kindergarten Teacher (May 2008)
- Schools That Beat the Academic Odds (Apr 2008)
- Academic Coaching Produces More Effective Teachers (Mar 2008)
- Coaches Are More Effective than Mentors (Feb 2008)
- Wrapping the Year with Rap! (Dec 2007/Jan 2008)
- The Floating Teacher (Nov 2007)
- Taking the Bite Out of Assessment—Using Scoring Guides (Oct 2007)
- Ten Timely Tools for Success on the First Days of School (Sep 2007)
- First Day of School Script - in Spanish, Too! (Aug 2007)
- Seven Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2007 (Jun 2007)
- Effective Teachers End the Year Successfully (May 2007)
- Training Gen Y Teachers for Maximum Effectiveness (Apr 2007)
- Classroom Management Applies to All Teachers (Mar 2007)
- Students Want a Sense of Direction (Feb 2007)
- Rubrics in Two College Classes (Dec 2006/Jan 2007)
- How to Write a Rubric (Nov 2006)
- Assessing Student Progress with a Rubric (Oct 2006)
- A 92 Percent Homework Turn-in Rate (Sep 2006)
- Effective Teachers Are Proactive (Aug 2006)
- Five Year Summary of Articles (Jun 2006)
- Hitting the Bulls Eye as a Beginning Teacher (May 2006)
- They're Eager to Do the Assignments (Apr 2006)
- The Success of Special Ed Teachers (Mar 2006)
- What Teachers Have Accomplished (Feb 2006)
- Fifty Years Ago, The Legacy (Dec 2005/Jan 2006)
- The Emergency Teacher (Nov 2005)
- Classroom Management Is Not Discipline (Oct 2005)
- A Successful First Day Is No Secret (Sep 2005)
- The Most Important Factor (Aug 2005)
- Four Year Summary of Articles (Jul 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 2) (Jun 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 1) (May 2005)
- Never Cease to Learn (Apr 2005)
- His Classroom Is a Real Life Office (Mar 2005)
- The Power of Procedures (Feb 2005)
- The First Ten Days of School (Jan 2005)
- PowerPoint Procedures (Nov/Dec 2004)
- The Saints of Education (Oct 2004)
- How Procedures Saved a Teacher's Life (Sep 2004)
- How to Help Students with Their Assignments (Aug 2004)
- Three Year Summary of Articles (Jun/Jul 2004)
- His Students are All Certified (May 2004)
- What to Do When They Complain (Apr 2004)
- A Well-Oiled Learning Machine (Mar 2004)
- The Effective Teacher Adapts (Feb 2004)
- How to Start a Lesson Plan (Aug 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market - Part 2 (Jun/Jul 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market (May 2003)
- The Effective Substitute Teacher (Apr 2003)
- A First Day of School Script (Mar 2003)
- How to Retain New Teachers (Feb 2003)
- No Problem With Hurricane Lili (Dec 2002)
- A Class Size of 500 (Nov 2002)
- Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers (Oct 2002)
- Dispensing Materials in Fifteen Seconds (Sept 2002)
- How To Start School Successfully (Aug 2002)
- Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations (June - July 2002)
- $50,000 to Replace Each Teacher (May 2002)
- Even Superintendents Do It (Apr 2002)
- Impossible, No Job Openings? (Mar 2002)
- A Stress Free Teacher (Feb 2002)
- A Most Effective School (Jan 2002)
- Van Gogh in Nine Hours (Dec 2001)
- The Effective Teacher Thinks (Nov 2001)
- How a Good University Can Help You (Sep 2001)
- How to Motivate Your Students (May 2001)
- How to Recognize Where You Want to Be (Apr 2001)
- What Successful New Teachers Are Taught (Mar 2001)
- A Journey of the Heart (Feb 2001)
- The Miracle of Teachers (Jan 2001)
- It's Not the Students. It's the Teacher. (Dec 2000)
- The First Five Minutes Are Critical (Nov 2000)
- How to Start a Class Effectively (Oct 2000)
- The Problem Is Not Discipline (Sep 2000)
- There Is Only One First Day of School (Aug 2000)
- Applying for Your First Job (Jul 2000)
- Your First Day (Jun 2000)
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