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Inside Teaching : June 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 TEACHING TIPS 28 opportunity for you to gain a greater understanding about their child as they are for parents to gain a greater understanding about your teaching and learning program, and their child's place in it • where there is an issue with a student, parents want to hear about it sooner than later, and definitely not for the first time in your end-of-term or end- of-semester report, so inform them early of any issues you're concerned about, and • involve parents in the learning process by inviting them, for example, to take reading groups, attend excursions and the like. 7 Look after yourself Rebecca Anhorn, coordinator of the teacher education program in the Teacher Education and Human Performance Department of Minot State University in North Dakota in the US, describes teaching as a profession that eats its young. I'm certain I'm not the only one who can relate to that comment. I remember, in my first few years of teaching, being mentally and physically exhausted. I'd often have a little nap when I got home. The good news is that we've learnt a lot about looking after ourselves as teachers since the days when l started teaching. We've developed more effective mentoring systems, more schools now avoid hazing -- where new teachers experience poorer working conditions than their veteran colleagues -- and schools are far more aware of burn out. That means there's a good chance lots of people are looking out for you in your first year out, but there's plenty you can do to look after yourself. • Make sure you have a critical friend that you can talk to without feeling judged. • Take advantage of what colleagues have to offer. • Plan with other teachers so you're not reinventing the wheel. • Try not to mark every aspect of every piece of work -- identify your major assessment tasks, and the key feedback on the learning process you'll be giving your students, and tell your students what you'll be assessing. • Use peer and student feedback to assist with assessing students' work. • Ask for help when you need it. • Avoid taking mountains of work home. • Ask for tips on writing reports, and remember this can often be a very stressful time for all teachers. • Keep a diary, including a list of things to do. • Allow for down time and opportunities to relax. Teaching is a craft, and to become a master craftsperson takes time, energy and experience as you continually refine your knowledge and skills. Always remember, though, that you're not alone on the journey to mastery. Travelling beside you are other teachers, school leaders, families and, most importantly, the young people whose own learning journey will be greatly affected by yours. Anna Bennett is an education consultant. For the last six years she has run many workshops and conferences for beginner teachers. REFERENCES Anhorn, R. (2008). The profession that eats its young. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin. Spring: 15-21, cont. 26. Dinham, S. (2008). How to Get Your School Moving and Improving. Melbourne: ACER Press. Marzano, R. (2003). What Works in Schools: Translating research into action. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Patterson, M. (2005). Hazing. Teacher. 164: 16-19. Sheets, R.H. (1994). Student Voice: Factors that cause teacher/student confrontations in a pluralistic classroom. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Minority Education, February 4, 1994. Stronge, J.H. ,Tucker, P.D. & Hindman, J.L. (2004). Handbook for Qualities of Effective Teachers. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.