The first teacher story is in! A big thank you to Mrs. Bianchi for her submission. Check out the comic and her first year teacher story that inspired it in this post. Now it’s your turn! Help new teachers and see your story come to life in a 180Dayz comic by sharing your first year teacher story. Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org and become part of the 180Dayz new teachers book!
“Do you have eyes in the back of your head?” This is a comment that many experienced teachers will hear over and over again from their students. Seasoned teachers have come to understand the importance of having total awareness of what’s going on in all areas of their classrooms at all times. Being conscious of the entire classroom, no matter what is going on in front of you, is a crucial teacher skill that all novice teachers should strive to develop. It’s a matter of being able to maintain a percentage of your attention to what’s at hand (perhaps answering a student’s question, or helping a student with their work, or retrieving something from the corner of the room needed for the lesson, etc.) while devoting the rest of your attention to the classroom as a whole. Your hearing, peripheral vision, and all senses come into play to give you a sort of omnipresence as you “know” what’s going on everywhere at all times in your classroom (of course, a few tricks like hanging mirrors above your whiteboard so you can see what’s going on behind you as you write can also help too!). As one becomes an experienced teacher, they quickly understand that students will take advantage of any moment, no matter how brief, where they know the instructor is not paying attention to the classroom environment. Work to minimize and eventually eliminate such instances. You cannot underestimate how your students’ creative minds will take advantage of such moments, as Mrs. Bianchi’s story below illustrates.
“My first year as a teacher, I had to teach Active Physics in a ninth grade, sub separate classroom. I had a pretty good group of students but definitely one or two who have had behavioral issues. We were working on a chapter called The Mu of the Shoe which involved measuring the frictional force generated between a shoe and different surfaces. Each student took their shoe off to do the activity and, trying to lead by example, I also took off my shoe to show the students what to do. At some point I moved away from the work area, and the next thing I knew, my shoe was gone! I laughed it off at first and thought the student would just hand it over. But that didn’t happen. I tried to keep my cool and not make a big deal, but it was clear that I wasn’t getting my shoe back anytime soon and I couldn’t believe the whole class had perfect poker faces. I had an idea who had it and tried to focus on that student but he swore up and down he didn’t have it. So here I am raising my voice, demanding my shoe back, all the while realizing how ridiculous I looked with only one shoe on. I had to call security. Advice: never take your shoes off in class and never underestimate the power of the masses.”