07 August, 2009

11 Rules for New Teachers

C. Radhakrishnan

New teachers are often placed into an awkward and stressful situation, not really sure of their authority and sometimes not even placed with veteran teachers who are much help. These tips can help new teachers as they begin their first teaching assignments. Please note: these are not suggestions for how to approach the students but instead for how to most effectively succeed in your new teaching environment.

1. Be On Time
Punctuality is very important in the 'real world'. If you are late, you will definitely NOT start out on the right foot with your colleagues and students. Even worse, if you arrive after 5 to 10 minute a class has begun which is supposed to be your teaching session, you are placing yourself in an awkward situation in front of the students.

2. Dress Appropriately

As a teacher, you are a professional and you are supposed to dress accordingly. There is nothing wrong with over dressing during your student teaching sessions. The clothes do help lend you an air of authority, especially if you look quite young. Further, your dress lets the superiors know of your professionalism and dedication to your assignment.

3. Be Flexible

Remember that the academic heads have pressures placed upon them just as you have your own pressures to deal with. If you normally teach only 4 classes and the principal/vice principal asks that you take on extra classes one day because he/she has an important meeting to attend, look at this as your chance to get even further experience while impressing your dedication to your higher-ups.

4. Follow the School Rules

This might seem obvious to some but it is important that you do not break school rules. For example, if it is against the rules to chew gum in class or in the campus, then do not chew it yourself. If the campus is 'mobile-free', do not use mobiles during your duty time. This is definitely not professional and would be a mark against you when it comes time for your superiors to report on your abilities and actions. Strictly adhere to ‘no touch, no shouting and no branding’ Philosophy. Let the children blossom the way God endowed them. Remember to become a ‘good guide’ rather an ‘instructor-teacher’ of a traditional school.

5. Plan Ahead
If you know you will need copies for a lesson, do not wait until the morning of the lesson to get them completed. Our school has procedures that MUST be followed for copying to occur. If you fail to follow these procedures you will be stuck without copies and will probably look unprofessional at the same time. In short avoid eleventh hour preparation. Prepare and keep ready all teaching aids/materials one day in advance. Suppose you need ‘Smart Class’, ensure that it is entered into the register kept for it and if possible remind the attended in charge in the morning to provide the system key right time in the class. For using ‘Smart Class’ it is essential to spend sufficient time in the resource room with the Educomp Resource Coordinator.

6. Befriend the Office Staff
This is especially important if you believe that you will be staying in the school possibly for a long time. These people's opinions of you will have an impact on whether or not you are good team player. They can also make your time during student teaching much easier to handle. Don't underestimate their worth.

7. Maintain Confidentiality
Remember that if you are taking notes about students or classroom experiences to turn in for writing in magazines or news papers, you should either not use their names or change them to protect their identities. You never know who you are teaching or what their relationship might be to your superiors. Further, if you have any negative opinion regarding any class or institution as a whole that shouldn’t come in your writing either directly or indirectly. It’s always better to show/appraise your superiors at least informally, what you want to publish.

8. Don't Gossip
It might be tempting to hang out in the teacher room and indulge in gossip about fellow teachers and superiors. However, as a new teacher this would be a very risky choice. You might say something you could regret later. You might find out information that is untrue and clouds your judgement. You might even offend someone without realising it. Remember, these are teachers you could be working as subordinate some day in the future.

9. Be Professional with Fellow Teachers

Do not interrupt other teachers' classes without an absolutely good reason. When you are speaking with your senior teacher or other teachers on campus, treat them with respect. You can learn a lot from these teachers, and they will be much more likely to share with you if they feel that you are genuinely interested in them and their experiences.

10. Don't Wait to the Last Minute to Call in Sick/Emergency
You will probably get sick or urgent personal work at some point during your stay in school and will need stay home for the day. You must remember that the substitution arrangement should be made for the class during your absence. If you wait until the last minute to call in, this could leave your superiors in an awkward bind making them look bad to the colleagues and students. Think what happens to the institutional prestige, if a class goes without a teacher and what students will transpire to their parents and friends out side. Call as soon as you believe you will not be able to make it to class/school.

11. Learn to Dream and Facilitate to Dream
All teachers are expected to dream high professionally and personally and the same should be imparted to students. If there is no dream, there is no desire, no goal, no motivation, no innovation and finally no life. We must dream of moulding world class innovators, entrepreneurs, administrators, politicians, social workers, educators, engineers, doctors and above all good human beings who can accommodate and adjust with all kinds of differences.