Let’s All Go Back to School: Tips for Teachers That Can Teach Us to be More Successful Too

There are lots of tips for educators each year as the first day of school draws near. I have watched as all kinds of suggestions and lists have been published, shared, texted and tweeted. One list struck me as containing pretty good advice that could be translated to fit anyone in a workplace, a family or other social setting.

We expect our teachers to handle difficult situations constantly (even without the occasional coffee break).  In honor of the fact that they will be starting fresh with a new set of students in a few days and will be working to be their best, I thought we could join them in resolving to do our best this 2015-16 school year wherever we are.

Below is a set of tips compiled for teachers.  This list has been copied and slightly edited from Edutopia’s list of The Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Management. You can change out a few words in these tips to fit your world.  Who knows, maybe our better behavior as bosses, workers, team members, parents and friends might just create a community culture that better supports schools.

Here goes….

  • Pick your rules wisely. More rules doesn’t always equate to better behavior.
  • Avoid confronting misbehaving students in front of their classmates.
  • Don’t waste your energy reprimanding every misbehavior.
  • Once you yell, you have lost.
  • Always have a plan in mind for handling misbehavior.
  • Greet your students at the door.
  • Try to look at things from your students’ perspective and be empathetic.
  • Build rapport with your students and show them you care.
  • Confront issues head on to find a solution.
  • Don’t take it personally when a student lashes out – no grudges.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to parents; include positive comments.
  • Ask students questions to help make them feel comfortable.
  • Make your expectations clear from the get-go.
  • Embrace the “Golden Rule” in your class.
  • Be consistent in expectations and discipline.
  • Learn to manage transitions smoothly to limit disruption.
  • Don’t get stuck in a singular mode of teaching.
  • Get students engaged and involved in the lesson to prevent disruptions.
  • Tighten up time management and stay organized.
  • Be clear in your objectives.
  • Reward students for working together.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
  • Leave your baggage at the door.
  • Show your students that you care about their success.

That last tip was one of the first reminders a principal gave me when I visited her school eight years ago. She said it this way, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Caring comes first. Good reminder. You can view this list and others at http://www.edutopia.org.

About Debbie Wesslund

I served on the Jefferson County Board of Education, Louisville, KY, from 2007-2014 and continue to be an advocate for public schools. There’s a high-level dialogue about public education that swings from positive to negative, with many who seek the spotlight voicing an inaccurate picture of our public schools. Words matter. They get lodged in our public perceptions, creating a narrative that doesn’t reflect the real story. There’s so much more to public education, and much worth applauding in Kentucky and across the country. The stakes are high: public education is the most serious public business we are about as a community, a state and a nation. We must continually renew our resolve to support public education. There’s always more promise in building something up, than in tearing it down.
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