Looking for a "welcome -- we're here to help you" gift for your school's new teachers? Check out Survival Kit for New Teachers, a resource bulging with practical ideas for classroom use. Included: Ideas for building "teamwork" skills, motivating students, and creating reading response journals.
The first year of teaching is like riding a roller coaster--full of ups and downs.
No college program can prepare new teachers for the enormity of the task ahead. But the year will be made more manageable if the new teacher is prepared to take on a few mountains. That's why every teacher needs a "bag of tricks" -- a "survival kit"!
Not long ago, teachers Emma McDonald and Dyan Hershman were new teachers. They remember those days well; they know what all first-year teachers go through. That's why the two veteran teachers have put together the Survival Kit for New Teachers. This "survival kit's" 200-plus, spiral-bound pages are packed full of practical ideas and strategies for beginning teachers. Even the most experienced teachers will find the "kit" to be a useful teaching tool.
Some of the ideas might be familiar because, as all teachers know, teachers have a way of taking ideas -- from textbooks and teacher magazines and other teachers -- and reworking or adapting those ideas to meet their own needs. This sort of "professional sharing" is common in the profession, and it can help turn good teachers into great teachers.
Hershman and McDonald, both teachers in the Dallas area, cover just about every problem a teacher might encounter in Year One, or Year Twenty-Five. Useful and workable ideas, tips, strategies, and activities are offered in response to teacher questions and comments such as:
"This book is meant as a starting point, not as a program," Hershman and McDonald caution in the introduction to their book. The book is one more resource to use in building a curriculum, one more tool to help teachers cope -- and excel.
One of the chapters in Survival Kit for New Teachers highlights activities for getting the school year off to a good start. Ideas for icebreakers and rainy day games can be found here. Also included are some great activities for new teachers -- no, any teachers -- to use in developing cooperative team skills. Here are a couple of the many activities offered to build "teamwork" skills, activities that will serve any teacher well throughout the year:
Another section of Survival Kit for New Teachers focuses on ideas for motivating students. In this section, McDonald and Hershman share bunches of "meaningful, creative, and unique ideas," a veritable ABC of exciting ideas! Among the activities:
Survival Kit for New Teachers includes individual sections of teaching ideas for language arts, math, and science and social studies. In each section, teachers will find all kinds of activity ideas -- many complete with reproducible teaching masters. For example, in the language arts section, McDonald and Hershman offer tips for using the writing process. They address a handful of different writing styles (ie., persuasive writing, descriptive writing) and provide graphic organizers to help students write in each style. Just for the teacher, a grading checklist (rubric) is offered for each writing style. Also included, 25 question prompts for students to answer in their reading response journals. Among them:
A quick scan of the book's table of contents reveals more of the topics covered:
Survival Kit for New Teachers is a terrific resource that should be included in every school's resource library, no, in every teacher's classroom! Teachers -- new and experienced -- will find in the "Kit" many practical classroom ideas. This volume could make life easier for all teachers, while making it more fun for their students.
In those schools where staffs like to welcome new teachers with something very special, why not provide a copy of Survival Kit for New Teachers to each new teacher? No more practical and useful gift will come their way!
Survival Kit for New Teachers is published by the Inspiring Teachers Publishing Group. For more information about Survival Kit for New Teachers (or for information about a "Survival Kit" in-school workshop), contact Inspiring Teachers Publishing Group, 1025 N. Central Expressway, #300-306, Plano, Texas 75075. Or you can find ordering information on the Inspiring Teachers Web site at http://www.inspiringteachers.com, email them at Inspiring1@juno.com, or call at (972)496-7633.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1998 Education World