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Emma McDonald

For more useful, practical, and realistic tips for beginning teachers, be sure to also visit our New Teachers special theme page.

The Hiring Process: How to Answer the Tough Questions
Some interview questions are more difficult to answer than others. I’ll address a few of those here -- and offer advice on how to answer them to show yourself in the best light.

The Hiring Process: Questions! Questions!
Get ready for job interviews by preparing answers to the questions you might be asked, and practicing how to ask the questions that will give you a realistic picture of the job.

The Hiring Process: Be Prepared
In order to successfully navigate the hiring process for schools, you need to prepare yourself with the right information, dress, attitude, and words.

The Hiring Process: A Little Research Never Hurts
Although you might be anxious to fill out applications and begin the interview process, it really is important that to take the time to do a little research first.

Motivational Tools
When trying to determine how to implement rewards in your classroom, you need to consider your goals, the kinds of incentives you’ll use, and the impact of the program on students.

Freedoms and Responsibilities
Your goal should be to empower students to take a part in their own learning while being held accountable for their behavior and work product. That can be developed through a system of freedoms and responsibilities within the classroom.

Setting the Tone
How can you develop a positive classroom environment that also embraces structure and accountability? How can you set just the right tone starting from day one? The key has everything to do with you -- your body language, eye contact, and tone of voice.

Closure Activities for the End of the School Year
By the time May rolls around, everyone is looking forward to the end of the school year. Still, it can be hard for many students to leave their teachers and friends behind. Closure activities provide everyone with a chance to say goodbye.

Utilizing Student Portfolios as an Assessment Tool
Portfolios show the cumulative efforts and learning of a particular student over time. They offer valuable data about student improvement and skill mastery. Along with student reflection, that data provides valuable information about how each student learns and what is important to him or her in the learning process.

Do You Doubt Yourself?: Doubting Thomas vs. Reflective Teacher
Every teacher worries about lessons, behavior, paperwork, parentseverything that affects his or her students. The question is, do you let worry become self-doubt or do you channel it to more positive purposes? Dont be a doubting Thomas. Be a reflective teacher.

Being a Professional Requires More than a Degree
Being a professional is more than just a degree and certificate hanging on the wall.If we want others to treat us as professionals, we first must portray ourselves as such. That is accomplished through our clothing, attitude, demeanor, and discernment.

Teaching Special-Needs Students in the Regular Classroom
Although it might feel like it sometimes, we are not alone when dealing with special-needs students. Unlike the old one-room schoolhouse teacher, educators today have a number of support resources available through their schools and districts.

Managing Student Talking
It used to be that when students were in the classroom, silence reigned. That changed with the onset of collaborative learning and hands-on learning activities. So, how do you manage the talking in your classroom now without stifling creativity and learning?

Working With Difficult People
A myriad of situations that will cause you difficulty can arise within the workplace. I cant provide specific answers for each and every one. Instead, below are a few thoughts on ways to help you get through those times with your dignity intact.

Become a Task Master
As a new teacher, its easy to become overwhelmed by the number of activities and tasks that fill your time. Its all too easy to let your tasks control you. Thats where time management comes in. Strive to be a task master -- the master of your own time.

Myths and Truths of the Job Hunt
As the school year draws to an end, it is most likely time for you to hunt for a job. That can be a nerve-wracking experience. Take a few minutes to consider a few myths, truths, and tips for job hunting that might prove to be helpful.

Sparking the Hearts and Minds of Students
Being passionate about your subject area communicates fascination and energy to your students. They soak up that energy and return it back to you double-fold.

Surviving Staff Development
Educators often find themselves obligated to attend staff development sessions that fail to meet their specific professional needs. Learn how to get the most out of any staff development workshop you attend.

Managing the Quagmire of Disillusion
One of the best pieces of advice I got before entering the classroom for the first time was given by my favorite high school science teacher. She said, Give teaching at least two full years before you even consider quitting. No matter what happens or how awful you feel, dont quit until youve finished your second year."

Collaborating with Colleagues
The days of closing the classroom door and creating a self-contained world are over. The autonomous classroom simply doesnt exist any more -- and for good reason. Todays students need more than just one person to guide their education -- they need a team.

The Secret Weapon: Getting to Know Your Students
Building positive relationships with students is the number one way to forestall any behavior problems that can arise in the classroom. The more students know and respect you, the more they will behave for you in the classroom.

Ease Stress by Being Prepared
Preparation is the key to being a successful teacher. The more thought and effort you put into your lessons and your job, the better teacher you will be. You also will be less stressed throughout the year.

Lost in Space
Whether youve got a classroom that appears to be the size of a football field or one that seems barely bigger than a closet, the ideas in this article will help you make the most of the space you've got.

Making the Most of Summer
Ah, summertime! Time to kick back, relax, enjoy your time off -- and get ready for a new school year. But how can you enjoy your summer and also prepare for the next school year? Emma McDonald offers a few tips to get you started.

Motivating Students
Do you notice yourself lecturing more? Are you doing the same exact thing day after day? Do you talk in a monotone? Take some time to analyze what's happening in your classroom, then try a few of the suggestions here to pep up your class.

Helping Students Survive Standardized Tests
You might recognize the feeling -- butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, and the sense of panic -- that comes from thoughts of a test. But testing is a fact of life for students. It's up to their teachers to guide them through the process and help them overcome the fear.

How to Involve and Engage Students
Student misbehavior isn't always caused by bad attitudes. Often students misbehave out of boredom. Keeping students involved and engaged is the very best solution. Emma McDonald offers a few great ideas for engaging and motivating classroom activities.

Getting a Fresh Start
January is a time for setting resolutions and readdressing goals. It is also a good time for a fresh start. Whether you feel as though you've had a rough start to the school year or believe you've sailed through it, now is the time to regroup, review, and make necessary changes.

Long-term Planning Strategies
A little long-term planning can help keep you from getting overwhelmed and stressed out in the weeks ahead. Emma McDonald offers a practical planning system that will ensure a successful spring semester for you and your students.

Developing Positive Parent Partnerships
If we are to reach our goal of producing successful students, we must partner with the people ultimately responsible for those students -- their parents. Discover how you can develop and foster such a partnership.

Getting Organized in the Midst of Chaos
Do you find yourself staring at all those piles of papers on your desk and wishing they would just disappear? If so, perhaps it's time to get organized.

Forming Good Habits
It takes 27 days -- and lots of practice -- to form a habit. Start off the year right by making your expectations clear to students and practicing correct behaviors daily. Soon good behavior could become a habit for your students.

Laying the Groundwork
The first day of school is the most important day of the entire year. Discover how to use it to create a positive learning environment in your classroom.