Tips for Teachers

UnderstandingYourRightsAndResponsibilitiesUnderstanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Join the TSTA/NEA affiliate in your school district.
  2. Know and understand your rights. You don’t have many but understand the ones you do have.
  3. Preserve, protect and defend the planning period. It’s yours so use it and protect it.
  4. Take your full lunch period-it’s duty-free, is a full 30 minutes, and DOES NOT include hall duty or taking kids to/from the cafeteria.
  5. Take time to document-you never know when you may need it.
  6. Keep your principal and appraiser informed; no one likes a surprise.
  7. Be on time.
  8. Go to local school board meetings-it’s amazing what you learn.
  9. Question things you don’t understand but don’t be insubordinate.
  10. Have the moral courage to speak up-your reality may not be the same as other teachers.
  11. Know and understand the process of how things get done and who does them.
  12. Avoid talking about students in a public place, including the lounge.
  13. Maintain confidentiality of students, colleagues, and parents.


ExpandingYourProfDevelopmentExpanding Your Professional Development

  1. Reflect on your practices and behaviors as a part of professional development.
  2. Use resources to identify meaningful professional development.
  3. Continue your learning about what you teach and how you teach.
  4. Mentor a new teacher and learn from a new teacher.
  5. Learn as much about technology as possible-it has a profound impact on how students learn.
  6. Subscribe to professional journals.



ManagingYourClassroomManaging Your Classroom

  1. Plan for classroom management the same as you do instruction.
  2. Get to know your students and let them get to know you-everyone needs to feel connected to school.
  3. Reach out to parents in a positive way. The first thing they hear from you shouldn’t be negative.
  4. Remember the 80/20 rule-80% of behavior problems in your class are caused by 20% of the students.
  5. Deal with difficult behavior when it happens; if not, it may become a wildfire.
  6. Teach routines early-you do not want students still learning where to put things when its time for STAAR test.
  7. Enforce your rules and expect everyone in your classroom (students and adults) to abide them.
  8. Greet your students at the door with a smile.
  9. Be ready to go-one of biggest transition problems is the teacher isn’t ready.
  10. Change out rules if they don’t work.
  11. Model the behaviors you want to see in others.


MonitoringYourPracticeAndBehaviorsMonitoring Your Practice and Behaviors

  1. Plan and prepare-every profession does it.
  2. Set boundaries-physical, social and emotional.
  3. Listen to and observe your students; actions and words may be warning signs.
  4. Get a copy of any IEP modifications as soon as possible.
  5. Remember the value of ESPs-they’re also educators.
  6. Spend your budget prudently.
  7. Keep your personal social media accounts separate from your school ones. Once something is out there, it’s out there.
  8. Go to ARD meetings-they’re too important to miss.
  9. Despite everything it’s not about the test.
  10. It’s better to be over-planned than under-planned.
  11. Rehearse how you plan to respond-to discipline, questions, etc.
  12. Make sure everything you say and do elevates teaching as a profession.
  13. Understand the collegiality of the profession-it’s all inter-connected.
  14. Keep interactions with students professional and above-board.
  15. Take calculated risks-learning is risk-taking and teaching is too.

TakingCareOfYourPersonTaking Care of Your Person

  1. Manage your time – teaching is time intensive; don’t let it get away from you.
  2. Advocate for you, for your profession, and your students.
  3. Know whom to seek out for help with a student.
  4. Start planning now for retirement.
  5. Take time for you, your family, and friends-a well-rounded teacher is a better teacher.
  6. Mingle with others-don’t isolate yourself in your classroom.
  7. Know and understand what comes out of your paycheck.
  8. Understand your benefits and leave provisions.

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