More great start-of-year advice

In a recent Teacher Magazine essay, Maryland NBCT Ken Bernstein shares his Advice for New High School Teachers — underscoring the importance of developing an atmosphere of trust with students.

“High school students are often very much in search of identity,” he writes. “That includes how they relate to other people. They need points of reference. They need situations they can trust, particularly as they are challenged to grow, emotionally as well as intellectually.”

Although traditional teacher-education programs rely on veteran educators to invite student- or “practice-” teachers into their classrooms, many skilled professionals can be heard expressing some reluctance about sharing instructional responsibilities with green recruits. They may be concerned about their ability to mentor an inexperienced colleague effectively, or simply hesitant to relinquish control of instruction in an atmosphere of high-stakes accountability.

In another recent TLN contribution to Teacher, we’ve pulled together the highlights of a chat in our daily discussion group about The Art of Working with Student-Teachers. We think you’ll agree its both revealing and thought-provoking.

Finally, in an article that continues to be the “most viewed”on the Teacher website, Oakland CA science coach Anthony Cody makes a strong case that teachers should not wait until classroom behavior is locked down tight before “allowing” students to engage in experiments, projects and other forms of hands-on learning.

“I have noticed that student behavior is often at its best the first few weeks of school,” says Cody, a long-time inner-city middle grades teacher. “Students are a bit nervous—watching to see how we will react when things go sideways. We can take advantage of this window of opportunity to showcase the way we really want them to learn. This is our golden opportunity to share our highest expectations with them, and invite them to rise to meet the challenge.”

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