I go back to work next Monday as a 7th grade special education teacher. That alone should send shutters of fear down your back. It should. It sends them down my spine whenever I think about it.
I learned a long time ago the dos and don't of teaching, and how I have earned the honor of needing a Bitch Badge. Here are some bits of wisdom for you.
- Don't try to be their friend. In the end, they will own you for the WHOLE year and never respect you or what you are trying to teach them.
- Routines are a good thing. Without a daily routine, they have no idea how to enter a classroom and get focused on the activities for the day.
- Structure, structure, structure! Know what you are going to do and have 5 ways to get it done.
- Don't let them get you off focus. They love this one. Good conversations are ok every once in a while, but if they know how to get your focus off, they will use and abuse it. I am very guilty of this one!
- Discipline or How I earn the Bitch Badge. Have rules, stick to them. You commit an offense, you pay the price. Have your rules posted and go through them every day for a week at the start of class. It sounds redundant, but it works when they say "I didn't know the rules"
Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete bitch, just very strict and press on the rules. You have to be nice some of the time, right? When they have a good grasp on the rules and runnings of the classroom, I let up and let them see the real me. The non-bitchy, fun loving, weird, humorous me. Every year I get at least one student who says "Your mean on purpose during the first week of school, aren't you?" I say, "No, not mean. Just making sure you know the rules and how seventh grade works".
*I am really not a bitch. Only the ones who try to break the rules end up calling you that because you made them suffer the consequences of their actions. I am actually a really nice person. They just don't see it that way.
**Would you be interested in a post that goes over all of the lovely names I have been called throughout my 11 years of teaching? Some of them are pretty good**