Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers...
by Barbara Gruber, M.A. & Sue Gruber, M.A.
Barbara Gruber Online Courses for K-6 Teachers www.bgrubercourses.com
March ~ The Perfect Time for a Fresh Start!
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Hang out with positive, enthusiastic people!
Hang out with energized, enthusiastic teachers. Stay away from the complainers and whiners on your staff. They zap energy from everyone around them---don't let them do it to you!
Less is more!
Simplify and streamline everything you can! Always be on the lookout for ways to cut your workload. Ask yourself:
- Do you work at school on weekends and holidays?
~Instead of going to school to tidy up the classroom, spend the last twenty minutes on Fridays doing a classroom clean-up with your students.
~Instead of spending hours creating decorative bulletin boards, display children's work.
~Instead of schmoozing with colleagues, hang a CLOSED sign on the door when children leave at the end of the day. Then, work free of interruptions for thirty minutes. That's two and a half hours of solid work time you can gain each week!
- Can you do activities with your students instead of for your students?
~Instead of writing sentences about stories on sentence strips to use for sequencing activities, elicit sentences from students and write sentences as children watch. Then, read and reread sentences aloud together. Interest is heightened because you are using the children's words and ideas for the sentences.
~Instead of decorating borders of handprinted poetry charts, have pairs of children do the illustrations. This fosters in children a sense of classroom ownership and responsibility.
~Instead of correcting papers with a red pencil, do corrections together. Have children find and fix their errors. Rubber stamp their papers "Self-corrected."
- Are you doing activities that require a lot of teacher preparation time? Is there an easier way to accomplish the same thing?
~When you attend a class or inservice and the instructor explains that you'll need to make significant changes in how you teach in order to use his ideas……ask yourself, how you can adapt and integrate the ideas without changing the way you like to teach. You are the expert in your classroom---you know what works best for you and your students.
~When you read recipes that start with "Early in the day, …"
do you skip right over them? Well, how about skipping over ideas for teachers that start with the words "Spend next summer making…" or "Each weekend you will need to …"
~Summers and weekends are for your life beyond teaching!
~Instead of using your time to tape record yourself reading stories for book & tape sets, read each story aloud to the class and tape record it AS you read it to the class.. You are making the tape on the spot on school time---not your time! What an easy way to get book and tape sets for your classroom library.
Seek out simple, make-sense ways to get things done that do not create more work. Even if the teachers on your grade level camp at school most weekends, you don't have to join them. Donating your weekends to your job is a choice. You will be a more enthusiastic, energized teacher if you have a life beyond teaching. There is a positive correlation between a teacher's level of enthusiasm and how much children learn. So there is every good reason to have a life beyond teaching.
Try some new ideas and activities!
By this time of the school year, you know your students inside and out. You probably know them better than you ever wanted to know them! That's why March is the very best of times to try out new classroom routines and activities. You know your students so well, it makes trying something new 100% highly predictable. This is a perfect time to debug activities; then, you can put them into action at the start of the next school year. So, start thinking about something you've always wanted to try and launch it in the month of March!
Make a "To Do List" every day---not to worry if you don't get everything checked off! Tomorrow is another day!
A "To Do List" helps you stay focused on the most important things that need to be done. And, checking things off on the list gives you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! Don't let your "to do list" make you feel pressured. You made the list so you can cross things off! If the list bugs you, throw the list away for the day. In a perfect world, you'd be able to do everything on your list…but, that's probably not going to happen and that's perfectly okay.
Maximize Your Earnings
Take a look at the salary schedule for your school district. Are you on the top step for the number of years you've taught and the units you've earned? If not, make a plan to step up the ladder so you earn maximum dollars in return for your work. It certainly is a good feeling to know you are on the very top rung of the salary ladder. Take a look at the five courses we offer for K-6 teachers. They can be taken on your schedule, any day at any time and you can earn up to three semester units of University Credit. And, we promise you the every single idea is classroom tested and practical. Invest in yourself by taking courses and earning units to move up the salary scale. http://www.bgrubercourses.com
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