Archive | November 2015

The Incredibly Needy Ones

Every teacher at some point has a student who is incredibly needy for every aspect of his school day. These needy students expect help from the moment they wake up each morning at home until their last wakeful moment of their day.

The difficult part of meeting the needs of a needy student is they are one of many who deserve and require your help and attention.  These students rob you of precious time and energy needed for the other students in your classroom.  Your job is then to wean that student of their dependence on others to make it through the day.

Here is the start of a list of the many needs one of these students may have at the beginning of the day:

  • hanging up their belongings once at school
  • putting on their shoes
  • unpacking home and school communication folder
  • following morning entry routine
  • locating personal supplies-pencil, eraser
  • etc……

The unfortunate thing about this is that it is only 10 minutes into the school day.

Stop!  A change needs to be made.

Tomorrow, upon entry at beginning of the day, circulate to praise students who are hanging up their belongings without making eye contact with your particularly needy student.

Talk about the morning routines that are established as you continue to circulate as students get themselves organized for the day.

This is the start of instilling independence in these needy students.  Once they have done one small thing independently, praise with enthusiasm.  Its all about breaking the cycle of dependency.

Throughout the day when they begin their daily rituals of demanding, interrupting, pouting  or crying, make eye contact with them but do not say anything.  Ignore the behavior for as long as you possibly can to give them the chance to correct themselves.

If they don’t stop, quickly remind them of the classroom behavior expectation they are not following and carry on with what you were doing.

While doing this be aware of your body language.  Do not approach the student, or bend down to their level.  This will only validate the behavior for the student in their own mind.

These students recognize that their behaviors are different from their peers. You must give them the tools and the belief in themselves that they can become more independent.

Once they begin to gain confidence in themselves, they will become more independent and will strive for more independence.

Feel free to make comments or ask questions about the post.








Take the Stress out of Holidays in the Classroom

Special holidays throughout the school year often wreck havoc on the regular routines already firmly established in a classroom. Both students and teachers are often experiencing additional stress created by holiday preparations at school and at home.

This can be compounded by the excitement of the anticipation of the holidays themselves.  Stress levels are high, tensions are high, nerves are on edge and adults and children’s ability to regulate their emotions are often compromised. This is setting up for the perfect storm in the classroom.

Usually the two to three days prior to the holiday break are the most challenging. Often there are special events going on in the school and community which can make it a difficult to maintain control and uphold a sense of calm in the classroom and at home.

During times like this, teachers (and parents) will want to plan calming activities in between special events. You will want to maintain some of the regular routines but some will need to go.

Depending on the holiday, simple holiday themed crafts, along with paper and pencil activities that are easy and quick to set up and implement are life savers.  The activities you have planned need to be prepared ahead of time, stored away until they are needed, and should be able to be put out and put away easily and quickly.

The children should have a folder or storage container that can kept at their desks for completed and not completed activities. Children should be given the choice of which activity they want to do.

Try to have a wide variety of activities which will please all.  Some children love colouring, others love crafts, while others like reading, drawing, building and writing etc.

These activities will take some time to put together, but the pay off you will get to help keep yourself and your students less stressed and busily happy will make it all worthwhile.  Word searches, crossword puzzles, fun writing activities, holiday card making, holiday and seasonal themed crafts and book tubs all help to keep students busy and productive.

When the students are busy doing things they enjoy, everyone gets a chance to regroup and regain their inner composure. You will actually see and feel the stress and energy levels drop once children are quietly engaged in their chosen holiday themed activities.

These activities can done throughout the days leading up to the holiday whenever some down time is needed or becomes available. Provide each student with a personal tracking sheet listing the different activities that are available to them. Children love to have ownership over their learning and the choices they have and the tracking sheet provides this for them.

Now, sit back and enjoy the peace and harmony you have in your classroom while chaos abounds everywhere else!

Feel free to make comments!

Two Key Survival Tips for a New School Placement!

One of the first lessons a teacher at a new school needs to learn is how to get along with everyone in the school. Two easy ways to do this; thoroughly understand your place in the pecking order of the school, and embrace mutual respect.

Understanding your actual ‘pecking order’ in the school with your administration and fellow colleagues is critical. Firstly, you are not paid enough to make decisions in the school as a teacher and should not attempt to question decisions or make decisions unless you are asked to do so by your administration. Be sure you know, and respect ‘who the boss is’.

Secondly, if you are the ‘new kid on the block’, bide your time and feel things out with your fellow colleagues before trying to ‘rock the boat’ too much.  Unfortunately, there will always be experienced teachers who don’t want to hear what you have to offer. Thankfully though, there are those who will see you as a breath of fresh air and welcome your input.

Treat everyone within the school environment with the same degree of respect you would want: principal, custodian, support person, secretary, new and experienced colleagues, parent, student, early childhood educator, lunch supervisor, crossing guard, substitute teacher, librarian, technology specialist, bus driver, school nurse, psychologist, social worker etc.

These are all people whose services, help or favors you may need one day for whatever reason.  You’d be amazed the number of times I had to jump on a school bus at the end of the day looking for a student who had left something behind or asked someone to watch my class while I made an emergency washroom visit.

You want to be sure you have looked after your relationship with these various people.  A pleasant smile or greeting at the start or the end of the day or week as you pass each other in the hallway can go a long ways when you need it.

You cannot survive in a school working in isolation.  The successful running of a school along with your classroom requires a team effort; and you need all the team players you can get on your team.

Image result for do unto othersThe old saying ‘Do onto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a great mantra to follow.  If your treat people well, in all likelihood, they will treat you well back.  It sounds so simple but its amazing how it can work for you.

Did you know that; “10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% are due to wrong tone of voice.” Unknown

How many times are conversations, looks, comments, texts, emails etc. misconstrued by yourself until you question the intended meaning. Choose your words carefully and be aware of your body language!

“There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away from these people. The battle they’re are fighting isn’t with you, it’s with themselves.” Rashida Rowe

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Ronald Reagan

There will always be those within a school who have a natural tendency towards conflict and negativity. Avoid these people when possible and when it is unavoidable, use every resource you can muster up within yourself to resolve the issue with limited collateral damage.

The following quotes will hopefully give you some ‘food for thought’ for the next time you find yourself in conflict with a fellow staff member.


Image result for pick and choose your battles quotes