Wish List for Beginning Teachers

Interviews with new teachers reveal what they want most: • Encouragement: Feedback that builds on their strengths, not just cautions to “do better” or “try harder.” • Fairness: Not being placed in the toughest schools, given the most challenging students, or being the first asked to make last-minute room or grade level changes • Honesty:…

Fear, Stress, and Learning

Obstacles to the learning process Excerpt from “Learning and the Brain,” chapter 4 of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools by Dr. Jane Bluestein © 2001, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL. This excerpt was extracted from the manuscript for this book and may be slightly different from the actual printed copy. The entire bibliography of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools is available on…

Making a Mistake in Front of Your Class

A defining moment in every teacher’s life How do you handle mistakes you make in front of your class? Some important lessons these two authors learned in observing teachers. In Anchorage, Alaska, a first-year teacher made a spelling error on the board during the first week of school. As often happens in these kinds of…

Starting Off on a New School Year

What to do on those first few days As is common for this time of year, I’ve been working with groups of educators getting ready for the beginning of a new school year. As is also common, I found that in addition to the usual questions I get about authority relationships, challenging students, and creating a win-win…

Test Time

Bringing balance and sanity to our schools How often do you hear yourself urging a student, “Come on, you have to learn this. It’s going to be on the test!”? I hear this appeal in classrooms all the time, and am certainly guilty of having uttered it myself. Still, I have to laugh, because after…

Working with Different Modality Strengths and Limitations

Characteristics and strategies Individuals of all ages tend to learn better when presented with new information in a way that makes sense to their brain and nervous system. Here is some information to help learners of different abilities. Appreciating and accommodating these differences whenever possible can reduce a great deal of stress for everyone concerned— teachers,…

The “Ideal” Student

The students we were taught to teach Traditional classrooms tend to favor students with the following characteristics or strengths: Strong in linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences Academically on grade level (not too far ahead or behind) Learning Preferences: Prefers working in a quiet environment Best time of day: Early morning, afternoon Social: Prefers working quietly alone…