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Monday 6 January 2014

10 Top Tips for Teachers linky!

I am linking up with Lauren from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep for a 10 Top Teacher Tips linky.  She started this linky to as a way to help beginning teachers (or not so beginning!) in the first few days/weeks/months of the school year, which in Australia starts in about 3-4 weeks....eeeek!

So here are my top 10.

1. Top Tip for Classroom Organisation

Label EVERYTHING!!!  and file as soon as you can.  The last thing you want or need is to have piles of papers on your desk, not only does is look untidy, when somebody wants something or needs a paper or file that you have, you look really unprofessional having to sort through the towers of papers on your desk.  How do I know this?  I have done it :)  Most embarrassing when the tower topples and you are then scrambling around on the floor.  So how do I avoid this now?  I have a desk top file that I have labelled and can easily pop papers into eg, student info, assessment, to copy, notes to go home, I even have a "to file" file, heehee.

2. Top Tip for Behaviour Management

Over the years I think I have evolved from that teacher who has no idea about behaviour management to a teacher that generally has a calm classroom with consistent rewards and consequences.  Yes I will admit at one time I was a "yeller" but seriously all that did was provide a release for myself and created a bad model of behaviour.  Now my students just need a look or a gentle touch on the shoulder to remind them to be on task.  Above all the one thing I have learnt is to follow through with any kind of system you have set up.  If it is 2 warnings and an exit, you need to make sure you follow the procedures.  Children are master manipulators and will quickly work out if you do not apply the consequences.

3. Top Tip for being a Team Player

I may have to blow my own trumpet here for a bit, this is something I am REALLY good at, primarily because I move on average every 3 years and I am a bit of an extrovert.  It is really important to not be afraid to ask questions about anything you are unsure of, every school will have their own way of doing things and most schools are working towards whole school programs.  You may be expected to take part in things you have never heard of, my top tip for this is don't be afraid of change, embrace any new opportunity.  There are always people in schools who will step up to help you out.

4.  Top Tip for Time Management

Hmmmm, I strive every year to be better at this.  The one thing I know has helped me is to have a timetable up every day in the classrooom.  This is great for students who need a visual timetable as well, so it serves 2 purposes :)  I also try to go into the classroom earlier rather than stay later, so it doesn't cut into my family time, for me that has been really important.

5. Top Tip for Engaging Students

Humour and drama.  Does this mean you have to be a comedian is the classroom? No, but adding a bit of a laugh as a brain break helps to get those kiddos who are almost incapable of sitting on the carpet for less than 10 seconds a chance to re engage with the group.  I also like to throw in a bit of drama or acting into an activity.  Kids love to see you dress up and take on a persona, just by putting on a pirate hat when you read a pirate story or a funky set of glasses when you are searching for adjectives in a text could be the thing that hooks those reluctant learners.  Certainly I am not saying you need to do this all day, every day but throwing it in every now and then can have amazing results.

6.  Top Tip for getting along with parents.

Hmmm, I have been told that I am not a person with tact and it is most likely true, although I do try :)  I have to say that I have always welcomed parents into the classroom and even the little things like having a quick chat in the morning can make a difference.  I have used many things over the years like communication books (can be time consuming) class newsletters, class blogs.  In the end anything you do that opens lines of communication will be a good thing.....however if you do have a parent that is somewhat "tricky" make sure you document EVERY communication.

7.  Top Tip for Teacher Fashion

Well as a person who luuurrrves shoes I will admit to wearing many shoes that are not likely to  be seen as comfortable or necessarily safe.  Having said that at 4 ft 11 if I do not wear a heel most of my students would be looking down at me, so for me heels it is!  Other than that I try to wear clothes that will allow for comfort during the day with a professional look, oh I also try to wear clothes that do not need ironing, no time for that!

8.  Top Tip for Bargain Hunting

Like most teachers I head to the Reject shop or Dollar shop or whatever you call it where you live.  I also like to get bargains from the Scholastic Book Club as well as book packs that occasionally pop up at the Australia Post shops.  Whatever you do make sure you keep the receipts for tax!

9.  Top Tip for Eating well at School

In my house we get everything ready the night before, including lunches so in the morning it is not so hectic.  Recently I have had to start relief teaching and that has made lunches a little more unpredictable, you never know when you will get a call with only half an hour to be at a school.  In those instances I have a lunch box already packed with non perishable items, then I just throw in some fruit, you can see a blog post here about it.  Otherwise I try to make a little extra dinner for lunch the next day.

10.  Top Tip for Staying Sane

Drink...alot of I'm joking!  There is no way you will get through a school year without having at least one or two meltdowns, accept that it will happen and try not to do it in front of children/parents/administration.  Find something that will give you an emotional outlet, yoga, running, Pinterest, blogging, the occasional red wine and remember when you are getting to that point where you think it is all too much there are other teachers who you can turn to that not only understand but have been exactly where you are.  Try to find a balance of work, family and time for yourself.....easy to say but it is important for your health and sanity to try.

I hope that you found something here that was useful and why not head over to Lauren to link up with your own 10 Top Tips for Teachers


  1. Hi Tania,

    Thanks for linking up!! I love your 'to file' file - I think I need one of them to try and tame the piles of paper on my desk. :) I like to get to school early rather than stay late, too... although I'm sad to say that lots of days I end up doing both.

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  2. Awesome tips, thank you! I am really trying to work on the organization and not just piling everything on my desk.
    Miss Crafty Teacher

    1. Those piles on my desk have been my "ugly" part of my room for a long time. I feel so much better when I have less clutter around. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by :)

  3. I am such a paper piler Tania! My desk last year was the worst it's ever been & that's saying something. This year I'm starting at a new school and I vow to be organised! We'll see how long it lasts :) What kind of desktop file do you use?

  4. Good ideas! I agree that you have to have a miscellaneous pile, but never let it get too big! and also a 'shred" box. thank you, Paula

  5. Thank you! These tips are fantastic, I'm starting my first class this month and am so overwhelmed, nervous, happy and excited and these tips have really helped. Im also a shorty so meh to comfort and hello pretty shoes!! ( I'm aware that three weeks in i'll be wearing grandma shoes but let me dream!)