Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Guest Blogger: Hidden Resources

Guest blogger: Mary Mandel, Instructional Coach for QComp, TERI School-based Faculty Liaison, Peer Assistance Program Coordinator

Hidden Resources

New hires in any district have an enormous amount to learn.   As a newly hired employee you will probably be presented with a staff handbook that outlines protocols and procedures. There are, however, some hidden resources that may not be identified in the handbook.  Developing  knowledge of them will help you in your new school environment.

There is a very important person that you should build a relationship with from the start - the school secretary.  This staff member is the backbone of a school and is aware of what is going on within the school on a day-to-day basis.  This makes him or her an excellent source of information for all those questions not found in the staff handbook.

Another invaluable resource that you should get to know is the school custodial staff.   These staff members spend their day on their feet working tirelessly to keep the building in working order.  They are the people you call when the faucet is leaking, the chair is broken, or when a student has a personal accident. 

Last, but not least, are the paraprofessionals that support the teachers.  “Relief” is how many teachers describe their initial reaction after learning that a paraprofessional will support them.  Having a trained paraprofessional can make an enormous difference in the efficiency of your classroom.  Such help is generally a welcome prospect for the overworked classroom teacher.

Remember your hidden resources.  Finding them will make your job easier.  Have a great year!

Monday, June 3, 2013

reflecting on the year

At this time of year, amidst grades and field day and packing up classrooms, it can be hard to find a moment to reflect on your school year. But now is the time, as you'll quickly settle into summer mode, and will forget to note the accomplishments and goals you'd like to set for next year. Some important things to consider include:
  1. Describe your classroom culture. Were you happy with the relationships you had with students and students had with each other? Is there something that you'd like to improve for next year?
  2. How did your classroom management plan work for you and your students? Any changes for next year? Anything you'd like to read up on this summer to prepare?
  3. What were your expectations for students? Did students understand these expectations? Were they appropriate for your students?
  4. What lessons and units went really well? Which fell flat?
  5. Are there resources you need to be more successful next year? What are they and how might you access them?
  6. What were some obstacles for you this year? How did you work through them? Are there ways to improve these for next year?
  7. Are there concerns that you have for next year? Are there ways you can be proactive in planning?
  8. Did you have goals you set for yourself at the start of the year? How was your progress on those?
I hope you can find a quiet moment or two in between end-of-year meetings and business to think about some of these questions to make a plan for next year. It might help focus your summer work and have you head into the 2013-2014 academic year with a solid plan.

What are some other questions you reflect on at the end of the year?