Ten things every new teacher should know

1. Focus on the positives, not the negatives.

“Focus and remark on positive behaviors rather than negative. If some students are not doing what they should be, saying ‘I see that 95 percent of you are doing exactly the right thing’ is more likely to get those off task back to what they should be doing than calling them out for it individually or castigating the class as a whole. Alternatively, ‘I have 80 percent attention, 90 percent, 95 percent’… For some students, getting a reaction to negative behavior is exactly what they want—when you respond to them, they learn that if they ‘push your button,’ you’re the best show in town!” —Todd Harris, director of technology, Copiague Public Schools

The best you can do is “…to take [students] from where they are at the beginning of the year and encourage them and teach them as much as you can. If you have done this, you have been a successful teacher! I am an adjunct professor in Education, and I make sure my students hear this several times during the semester.” —Dorothy Miller, adjunct professor, School of Education, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Meris Stansbury

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