Teacher leaders share ‘teaching secrets’

New teachers looking for a little aid and comfort will appreciate the advice — both practical and profound — offered in a collection of back-to-school articles at Teacher Magazine Online. The ‘Teaching Secrets’ series includes both full-length essays and collections of quick advice from other members of the Teacher Leaders Network.

Palo Alto (CA) high school teacher David B. Cohen urges new teachers (and teachers in new schools) to establish a professional identity early in their first school year. “Don’t keep too quiet early on at a new school,” he writes. “Staff members play roles in the drama (or comedy) of school cultures, so choose your early roles well to avoid typecasting.”

In “Students Behave When Teachers Engage,” middle school veteran Anthony Cody confesses that “I floundered a bit the first year or two, and took help wherever I could find it. My best resources came from my colleagues down the hall. They had been at the school a few years and passed along valuable ways to make things work.” Most important, in Anthony’s experience, has been the relationship between high engagement and effective behavior management.

In the first of two collections of quick wisdom, which we’re calling “Hallway Hints,” various TLN members respond to this prompt:

It’s the first week of school. Buses arrive early tomorrow morning and hundreds of chattering students will disembark, signaling the true end of summer. You’re a veteran teacher who’s rushing toward your classroom with the last armload of materials from your car. You spy an impossibly young adult, apparently frozen in place in the hallway. Your quick diagnosis: NTSS (new teacher shock syndrome). Your stomach remembers the anxiety of that day so many years ago. Your heart reaches out. But your head says you can spare only two minutes right now. What’s your best advice?

The “Teaching Secrets” series will continue through September, capped by a second installment of our “Hallway Hints”!

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