10 Huge Mistakes New Teachers Often Make and Tips for Correcting Them
The passion for developing young lives and preparing them for leadership in the next generation is an exciting and thrilling adventure. However, many new teachers enter the classroom with a number of misconceptions regarding their profession. They dream of conducting a perfect classroom where students are always cooperatives and eager to learn, where there is no need for redirection and where administration is always on their side.
New teachers face disappointment when the reality of the teaching profession becomes obvious. But by making mistake after mistake, they gradually learn how to become skillful and masterful classroom educators. There are ten huge mistakes which new teachers often make, which keeps them under pressure and interferes with the quality of their teaching.
As teachers, having a perfect classroom is our most hopeful dream. We desire students to obey our commands and set in absolute stillness while we present our lesson. But frustrations comes when we see students rambling in their desks, playing with pencils, reading a book, drawing pictures, coloring, looking at another student, daydreaming, or yarning out of boredom.
Don’t let the lack of perfections discourage you. If you are one of these teachers, expect excellence from your students, but don’t stress yourself for lack of a perfect learning environment. It doesn’t exist, not even in college classrooms. There are always one or two students who are hell raisers. In addition, on any given day, your best students could have bad days. Students are no different than adults when it comes to going thought mood swings.
Failure to Establish Transition rules
If a Young teacher is able to effectively manage transition, the entire day will be very productive. Many teachers don’t take enough time to foster smooth transitions. They believe it takes too much time away from instructions. However, the opposite is true. Chaotic transitions delay valuable instruction time as well as minimize student focus.
Beginning teachers must master classroom transitions until they are fully ingrained in the mentality of all their students. When student can execute transition well, then they will be able to excel in keeping many other rules, resulting in a classroom environment where fun, excitement and creativity occurs daily.
Ignoring Tension among Students
The goal of classroom teachers is to keep all students safe. Ignoring tensions and mild disputes among students is a recipe for physical eruptions in the most likely of times. An infraction can occur in the hallway, in the lunchroom, on the playground and on school buses. Teachers must get to the bottom of all tension among students. Warnings must be issued if attitudes don’t change.
Students must be taught how to deescalate conflict in a mature, respectable way. Programs such as Second Step must also be emphasized throughout the school year, not just in the beginning semester.
If teachers sense that tension among students is getting out of control, administration must be informed as well as parents and other teachers who may have these students in their classrooms.
Ignoring tension can create an unsafe learning environment, destroy student collaboration and take the fun and excitement out of learning, not only for contentious students, but for all students.
Redirection without Logical Consequences
Failure to apply logical consequences after two or three redirections is a recipe for chaotic behavior and undue stress. When students constantly break the rules without penalties they become even more embolden in their negative behavior. They will continually disrupt your teaching, interfere with the education of their classmates and disrespect other adults.
When students know that there are no consequences for their behavior, there are no limits to how far they may go.
Novice teachers must avoid this type of weakness at all cost. Not only will it appear that you cannot manage an effective classroom, you will also gain a reputation for neglect and violation of student safety in the classroom environment.
Avoid this type of reaction at all cost. You must establish your authority every day. Let your expectations be known at the beginning of each morning . The moment a student walks inside the classroom his or her behavior should reflect those expectations.
Compromising Logical Consequences
Refuse to compromise with students over logical consequences. For instance, if you take 10 minutes of a student’s recess, don’t turn around and given him the 10 minutes back because he has behaved for a certain length of time. The student should still pay for breaking earlier rules.
When you compromise on logical consequences, students will come to perceive you as someone who is soft in enforcing good behavior. They’ll violate the rules, receive and consequence and begin to do good for a short period of time just to get you to change your mind about their punishment. Students play this game all the time of soft teachers.
Losing Emotional Control in front of Students
Some days in the classroom can send you toward the edge of insanity. You feel like exploding in the face of student(s) who has tortured you for months. You have tried every technique in the book to reach this student, but to no avail. You have applied a hierarchy of logical consequences, including sending a child multiple times to the principal’s office. You have called parents. You have even attempted to bribe the students with rewards. Yet there is no indication that the student wants to change. He or she gets joy out of seeing you under constant duress.
Nevertheless, you must not lose control. This reaction will make things worse. Once a student discovers how to bring you to your knees, he is in charge of the classroom. You must teach according to his expectations or there will be hell to pay. This situation may be farfetched but it is a reality in many classrooms across America.
Teachers have gone berserk in the classroom, chasing students around and in between desks, while the rest of the classroom is laughing in boisterous excitement.
If you are one of those teachers, you must do some masterful damage control which starts by controlling your emotions and staying calm under pressure. You must understand that there may be students you will never bring under control
The best thing you can do for such students is to continue to teach them in a way that they may remember it somewhere down the road of their lives.
Failure to Contact Parents Regarding Bad Behavior
Many new teachers back down from contacting parents about student behavior. They don’t want to place any pressure on the parents, especially if the parents appear hostile at times. However, the parents are one of the strongest allies when it comes to getting students back in line. Ninety-percent of students don’t’ won’t a phone call home.
Many times a phone call home can prevent bad behavior in a child for the rest of the school year. So don’t hesitate. Contact parents when a pattern of logical consequences has failed to solve a behavior problem. Don’t be intimidated by hostile parents who believe that their children possess an angel-like attitude. All parents believe the best about their children, but many know that the teacher is most likely correct when they are made away of their child’s misbehavior in school.
Failure to Organize and effectively present Lesson Plans
Chaos comes with lack of preparedness. When you spend your weekends oblivious to the educational demands of the teaching profession, your teaching performance will suffer greatly. The fact is to be a teacher is to be a teacher on weekends as well as weekdays. Teaching during the regular school year is 24 hour a day job.
The only freedom that you will experience most likely won’t come until the summer break or the off-time during the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring breaks are the times when teachers can breathe a slight sign of relief.
In order to reduce stress, prepare teaching plans well in advance of the lesson so that you will be ready to give an interesting and competent lesson presentation. When you are prepared and passionate about what you teach, you will find that students are too. They pay attention and the engaged looks on their faces gives you an indication that they are connecting to the subject you are presenting.
Lack of Vision for Each Student
Every student in your classroom is under your watch. It is your responsibility to develop the character, confidence and academic competence needed for each child to lead a progressive life. Even if you can’t reach a student, you should still have a vision for that student.
After assessment, you should know exactly where each student stands in terms of academic competence. You responsibility then (for the rest of the school year) is to empower your students to become the best that he or she can imagine.
Having a vision for your students gives you a goal to reach and a sense of having impacted a young life when the school year is finished. This is a wonderful feeling, especially if you see significant change.
Intimidated by Administrative Demands
No one knows a classroom better than the teacher of that classroom. Administration can make many demands when it comes to the right way to teach academics, to manage a classroom or to discipline a child. However, the teacher must not be afraid and restricted by these demands if she expects to create a classroom which allows creativity, fun and excitement. The majority of classroom teachers find themselves always teaching for the standardized test.
When teachers teach only for the test, creativity can go out of the window due to the demands for coverage. However, if there are strategies that will transform the classroom to an understanding learning environment, you must be willing to take risk. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box of administrative expectations.
For example, if your students can learn math more effectively by standing up in the classroom, taking walks outside, or listening to music, don’t be afraid to utilize these methods. Your children will love you for it and you will feel a sense of pride in impacting lives in a more creative fashion.