Starting at a new school can be intimidating and present a unique set of challenges. But with a little effort, administrators and teachers can make the transition a whole lot easier.
Join us as we discuss 8 ways administrators and teachers can help support new teachers at their school.
Pass along this episode to your principal: www.teach4theheart.com/support
Find out more about CEAI: www.teach4theheart.com/insurance
The first day of school sets the tone for the whole year. Here are 10 things to avoid on the first day of school.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/firstday
Get the free classroom management minicourse at www.teach4theheart.com/minicourse
The bell rings and the students come pouring in to the first day of school. Excitement and a bit of chaos fill the air as well as some nervous anticipation – not just from the students but also from the teachers.
Yes, the first day of school is extremely exciting, but those first few hours with your students are also critically important. In fact, they can actually make or break the entire school year.
Your goal should be to actually teach something in each class
Our FREE classroom management minicourse will help you prepare for the best start-of-school yet. Click here to start the minicourse.
The first week of school can make or break your entire year. Start off right, and it's (relatively) smooth sailing. But if you make some of these common mistakes, you'll pay for it all year long.
Listen as we discuss 5 common back-to-school mistakes - and how to avoid them.
Notes & links: www.teach4theheart.com/mistakes
Classroom Management 101: www.teach4theheart.com/cm101
Christian Educators' Association International (professional liability insurance & more): www.teach4theheart.com/insurance
Classroom management is possibly the most challenging aspect of teaching today. But you don't have to end up with a disaster on your hands!
Join guest teacher Latrisha Lott as she shares 4 simple steps she's learned to help prevent classroom management disaster.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/disaster
Join our free Back-to-School Classroom Management Solutions live training at www.teach4theheart.com/backtoschooltraining
It can feel like you’re navigating a maze blindfolded while carrying a 100-pound backpack and getting hit with paintball pellets (Ouch!).
I'm talking about classroom management - one the most challenging aspects of teaching today.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my teaching program did a fair job of letting me know what I would be facing as a teacher.
Textbooks and teacher preparation classes painted a picture of compliant, well-behaved students who couldn’t wait to learn. This may have been the experience of teachers 75 years ago, but it sure hasn’t been my experience or the experience of ANY teacher I know that is currently in the classroom.
I think it is time we be honest.
Now I am not saying you can't get your students to that place, but in my experience, a peaceful, focused on-task, classroom, filled with quality learning requires hard work and EXCELLENT classroom management that is applied with godly wisdom.
Let’s face the facts.
Society has changed.
Students have changed.
Parents have changed.
Sadly, teachers don’t always have the trust and respect of those they serve, and as the morals and values of a society implode, public servants like teachers are often left to clean up the mess.
It is not your imagination.
A huge number of young people are more disrespectful and rebellious than ever before. Parents often want to excuse their kid's wrong-doing and blame you! Administrators are often pressured to avoid disciplining students, so they might place those pressures on you. The workload is heavier than ever.
You're not alone in these observations.
Teaching. Is. Hard.
I have taught in a charter school, a private Christian school and a public school. I have taught primary and secondary school. I have taught students of millionaires and students that did not know if they would have dinner each night. The classroom management challenges have been very similar in each situation.
But there is hope!
If you are in the classroom now, you have a reason to believe that God has called you to be a teacher for such a time as this.
Students need godly teachers more than ever (in Christian schools and public schools), and He has called YOU!
You can be a better classroom manager. You can build more trust with students, parents, and administrators. You can touch and even transform lives.
However, there are some pesky roadblocks you may encounter, and it takes wisdom to avoid crashing into them!
The roadblocks are often both internal and external depending on your circumstances and environment, but being prepared for them will help your year run smoother and save you lots of time, energy and potential conflicts down the road.
Here are 4 simple steps I learned the hard way that will help you avoid classroom management disaster!
1. Don’t let students manipulate you with their emotions.
Have you had a student start bawling when you gave them a detention? Have you experienced a student’s explosive anger when they don’t get to go to recess?
Ever have a student protest vehemently that they should have been the student of the week and that you always pick the same kids for everything—hurtfully accusing you of showing favoritism?
When you give consequences or withhold rewards as a part of your classroom management plan, you will likely encounter pushback intended to cause you to feel guilty, second guess yourself or give in to the student’s demands. And this problem can be compounded when students band together against you.
Second guessing and giving in to demands are big mistakes, though, because students will realize they can turn on the waterworks, throw tantrums, or rope you into an emotional debate and control you through the sheer force of their feelings.
Many times the student’s emotions are genuine, but often times students will play up their emotions to see what you will do. The trick is to remain calm and stick to your consequences and rewards.
Once your students see that you will remain calm, resolute, and unshaken in the midst of the storm of their emotions, students will typically try those tactics less and less.
Use prayerful discernment to decide whether or not to console students in the moment or acknowledge their wounded feelings, but don’t by any means let their hurt or upset feelings change your pre-determined set of consequences or rewards.
Of course, there are rare circumstances where you truly feel led to cut the student a break or give them another chance, BUT this should be a rare exception. Otherwise, students will be confused and not know what to expect from you.
The goal is not to become an unfeeling automaton but rather a consistent leader that does the right thing for students even when it is unpopular.
Students ultimately respect someone they know they cannot manipulate.
2. Document everything you can, and let the world know you are keeping track of everything!
A wise veteran teacher once told me to document everything, and this little gem of wisdom has proven true every time.
Sadly, your word alone as a teacher is often not enough. In our society, everybody wants proof, proof, proof! Oddly enough parents will often believe their kids over you (and kids lie….a lot)!
Surprised? I was! It's a strange day we live in, so we must be prudent!
When you call up little Johnny’s mom, it's better to say, “…this week I counted 37 blurts…” rather than “Johnny is being a little too chatty…”.
It is more effective to let the parents know exactly how many assignments their child is missing instead of merely saying their child is not getting work in on time.
Did a student say something (CRAZY?) —write it down word for word. Believe it or not, you will likely forget exactly what they said which leaves room for the student to deny it ever happened, and when you are in that parent-teacher conference, you are going to want to know exactly what was said and when.
You can document in any way that is easy for your personality type, organization level, and style. Just have a system!
It can be as informal as a documentation notebook you carry around everywhere to jot notes down. It can be as fancy as an excel spreadsheet with student names and different columns representing various behaviors and the number of times they occur.
I personally like carrying around a red clipboard with student names and boxes to give "checks" for the most common misbehaviors like talking without permission. When the students see me pick up the clipboard they know I am tracking and documenting their behavior, and it calms them down.
There are also amazing online programs and apps like Class Dojo that make tracking these things a cinch.
Time is in high demand for teachers, and it can feel too tedious to document, but this is one investment that pays dividends.
And the beauty is — students will behave better when they know you are tracking their behavior and documenting what happens day to day. There is instant accountability, and when you follow through with consequences, students will think more closely about their actions!
3. Keep your expectations high, and don’t apologize for it!
This one is tough!
As a teacher, there are so many pressures that might tempt you to lower the bar, but don’t do it! Students may complain when you have high standards and parents may even complain, but true leadership involves holding on to godly principles that remain strong, time-tested and true in the face of adversity!
As society drifts farther and farther from God, the world’s standards and expectations sink lower and lower.
This naturally makes Christians seem all the more peculiar, which is a good thing, but also a challenge at the same time. You see, the most basic Christian standards look like high expectations to the world, and truly high expectations look impossible to the world.
So if you have high moral standards for your classroom, then you might find yourself at odds with a lot of people—even in a Christian school. (This happened to me, but that’s another story all together!)
But don’t give up!
Don't feel bad about expecting students to talk to you respectfully. Don't feel old fashioned when you stop students from using inappropriate language or off-colored jokes! Teach students the importance of honesty, hard work, and integrity!
Encourage modesty and enforce your school's dress code. You may be the only teacher that you know who's calling kids up higher, but you will be a massive blessing in a child's life, even if they are not yet a Christian. Even if they never become a Christian, you will have served them by speaking Biblical truth into their heart and mind.
This same principle remains true if you teach Christian students. Many Christian students are so inundated and brainwashed by the world, that Biblical truth sounds foreign. Christian students need strong, fearless teachers that won’t bend the truth of God’s Word. Speaking the truth and upholding truth might put you on a path of conflict, but don't shy away.
Truth is desperately needed in Christian and secular environments, and God has placed you at your school to be a beacon of light and a proclaimer of truth!
4. Pray without ceasing!
Last but definitely not least, pray!
I have seen God do amazing things through prayer, but sometimes when we are the most stressed prayer seems like the last thing our flesh wants to do! In Matthew 26:41 Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
One teacher’s temptations will be different than another's. You may be tempted to avoid disciplining certain students out of fear of their reaction or even their parent’s reaction, while another teacher may struggle with taking vengeance on a certain student due to their behavior.
On some days you may be tempted to yell and scream at your students while other days you may be tempted to simply disengage, hand out a worksheet and sit at your desk browsing your favorite online magazine with a mocha.
Often we are tempted to simply give up and coast until the end of the school year, but with the Lord's help, we can overcome all of these negative emotions.
I would recommend two types of prayer.
First, I believe it is important to have a daily prayer time where you pray over a list of things that are going on in your life and the lives of those you care about.
Second, I find "5-second" prayers throughout the whole day to be a lifeline! This is sometimes called "practicing the presence of God" popularized by Brother Lawrence. This concept mirrors the scriptural principle of praying without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
You simply talk to God all day.
Ask Him to help your observation go well. Ask the Lord to help you be patient today. Ask Him for more energy and focus.
He wants you to pray and walk with Him throughout your days. Ask Him to make you a better classroom manager and ask Him for courage!
God is more than willing to help you with any and everything you struggle with, and there is nothing too big or too small for him.
If your journey is anything like mine, God will often use teaching as the fiery furnace to burn off things that are displeasing to Him, so don't be surprised when yucky stuff rises to the surface.
Finally, don’t be discouraged by slow progress in your classroom management, and try not to make comparisons between yourself and others. Look for help wherever you can find it; then pray and ask God to help you implement what you learn.
You may not always feel like you are making a difference, but God is using you in the classroom even in spite of your weakness.
Need more classroom management help? Join us in our upcoming FREE Classroom Management Solutions live training where you'll learn how to start the school year off right - and the incredible difference it will make!
Getting your room ready for the school year can be extremely exciting. It’s also a whole lot of work. There are books to prepare, desks to arrange, decorations to create……The list seems never-ending.
What we really need to focus on, though, is functionality. Yes, it’s great if our rooms are cute and fun, but it’s more important that we be strategic in how we set things up so that we can maximize our efficiency.
In this episode, we examine 9 practical ways to set up your classroom to save time & help your students learn.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/settingup.
Did you spend this past year stuck in the crazy cycle - overwhelmed, exhausted, and never able to quite get caught up?
Join us as we speak with Elizabeth Chapman, a high school English teacher and mom who knows first-hand just how crazy teaching can be.
We discuss why balance is worth fighting for & practical steps you can take right now to do just that.
Get the notes at www.teach4theheart.com/crazy.
Summer is a time to rest and refresh - but also to grow both professionally & personally.
Join us as discuss 10 ways to grow as a teacher this summer.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/grow.
Join one of our summer events at www.teach4theheart.com/events.
Create Your Dream Classroom: www.teach4theheart.com/dreamclassroom
Classroom Management 101: http://academy.teach4theheart.com/p/classroom-management-101
Teach Uplifted: www.teachuplifted.com
Did you spend the last few months longing for the summer so you could get a break from your teacher anxiety? Are you already dreading those back-to-school signs that will bring it all back in full-force?
Whether you struggle directly with anxiety as a teacher or would simply label it "stress", this episode will help you examine the true root of these feelings - and how to teach without anxiety.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/anxiety
Join Teach Uplifted or our free live training at www.teachuplifted.com
What should you focus on RIGHT NOW to best grow as a teacher?
A seemingly simple question but one that’s not always easy to answer. With so many questions bouncing around in your head & so many challenges on your plate, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on next.
That’s why we’ve developed the Teacher Success Roadmap.
Get all the links at www.teach4theheart.com/roadmap.
This roadmap is meant as a guide – a clear path towards success that will show you step-by-step what areas you need to focus on as you seek to grow as a teacher. As well as the resources you need in each area.
These steps are sequential. So take a look at each one in order. If you believe you’re doing pretty well with the first step, move on to the next – until you get to an area where you know there’s room to grow.
And that – right there – is the perfect spot to focus next. Don’t worry too much about the rest of the roadmap. Just take the next step. Once you’ve mastered that, you can come back and continue on the road to success.
Step 1 | Walk with God
Experience the power of a vibrant relationship with God as you spend time with Him and talk with Him throughout the day.
If you try to teach in your own strength, you may be a great teacher – you may even make a difference in your students’ lives. But you won’t have a fraction of the impact that you could have if God is working through you.
That’s why we must value our relationship with Him and make it a priority. We must realize that spending time with Him and talking to Him throughout the day is the most important work we can do – way more important than our never-ending to-do list.
If you haven’t yet developed the habit of spending time with God each day, then that’s where you should start. Here’s some great resources that can help you get started:
And if you don’t know God personally, I encourage you to start with this article here:
Step 2 | Manage your classroom
Create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.
It's tough to teach when your students aren't listening. That's why great classroom management is key to any successful classroom.
Think of it as the foundation - it's not really exciting, and it's not the most fun piece of the house to work on, but without it, everything else you build will eventually come crashing down.
If you're struggling with classroom management, this isn't something you can just ignore and hope it gets better. You have to make changes. You have to figure this out.
The good news? We’re here to help!
Free resources to get you started:
Go straight to the all-in-one solution:
Step 3 | Plan & execute effective lessons
Structure your lessons so your students truly understand and master key skills.
Are your students struggling in your class? Are you seeing way too many D’s and F’s and getting way too many confused looks?
Our default reaction is to blame the students for not trying, but the hard truth is that sometimes we’re not doing the best job explaining the concepts in a way students can actually understand.
We owe it to our students to be continually improving our teaching methods – always looking for better ways to create more of those lightbulb moments.
Need help planning & teaching effective lessons?
Step 4 | Find balance
Don’t let teaching take over your life. Find balance by learning to teach in a way that is actually sustainable.
Are you overwhelmed by your workload, stressed by your mile-long to-do list?
You can’t let teaching take over your life or you’re headed straight for burn-out. Or, at the least, I’m-so-tired-and-stressed-I-can’t-think-straight-ville. Neither of which make you a very effective teacher.
The good news is that it IS possible to be an amazing teacher without working 24/7. But to achieve balance you must make it a priority and seek out creative solutions.
Which we’d love to help you with 🙂
Free resources to get you started:
Go straight to the all-in-one solution:
Step 5 | Teach Uplifted
Teach with God’s peace and joy, even in the midst of challenges and frustrations.
So often as teachers we’re worried, frustrated, anxious, or discouraged.
But not only is this not what God intended for us, but we’re also not as effective when we’re distracted by these negative feelings.
Praise the Lord, He has something better. In learning to trust Christ, think Biblically, and surrender everything to Him, we can overcome anxiety and teach with peace and joy, even when everything around us seems to be going wrong.
And what a powerful testimony that can be!
Free resources to get you started:
Go straight to the all-in-one solution:
Step 6 | Embrace Your True Mission
Fulfill your God-given mission to shine His light in the public school or make disciples in the Christian school.
Once you’ve gotten this far on the roadmap, you’ve mastered the basics and have overcome some key challenges. Now you’re ready to truly make a difference as you embrace your mission as a Christian teacher.
Public school teachers: If you teach in a public school, you may not be used to thinking of teaching as a ministry, but that’s exactly what God has called you to. He desires you to be a bright light pushing back the darkness all around you – and drawing others to Him.
Christian school teachers: As a Christian school teacher, you have the privilege (and responsibility) of directly instructing students in God’s word – not just in Bible class but in every area of the classroom. You must intentionally disciple students and show them how to examine every topic through the lens of a Biblical perspective.
Step 7| Inspire & lead your students
Make a lasting difference in your students’ lives as you learn how to inspire, motivate, mentor, counsel, and lead them.
At this point, you’re a strong teacher – ready to grow your influence and make a lasting difference in your students’ lives.
But how exactly do you best inspire them, motivate them, counsel, mentor, and lead them?
We’re hoping to develop more resources in the future to help with this final stage of the roadmap. But in the meantime, we hope you’ll find these helpful:
In order to be most effective, all of these topics must be studied
1) From a Biblical perspective and
2) Within community
Biblical Perspective: The Bible is not just a wise book that helps us be good. It is the source of truth – the only thing we can be absolutely sure of. We must view every other topic through the lens of Scripture & allow its truths to shape how we think and act.
At Teach 4 the Heart, we strive to examine each topic from a Biblical perspective so that we aren’t simply running from one new idea to the next but are seeking to apply never-changing truths to every challenge.
Community: Too often we make the mistake of trying to learn & grow on our own, but that’s not the way God designed us. God created us to learn and grow together – in community with fellow believers.
At Teach 4 the Heart, we strive to connect Christian teachers in meaningful ways so that we can support & encourage each other. Community happens all over Teach 4 the Heart but most notably in our Facebook group, live trainings, prayer challenges, and premium programs.
Do you dread tackling that ever-growing stack of essays? Does it take you forever and a day to get through them?
In this episode, we give a simple & easy way to grade writing quickly - while still giving valuable feedback to students.
Get notes, links & a sample grading form at www.teach4theheart.com/gradequickly
You're tired, exhausted, wondering if you can make it to the summer. But what if instead of counting down the days, you could make these last days count!?
Join us as we discuss 6 tips to finish the school year strong.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/finishstrong
Students LOVE review games, but when we can't afford to spend more time on the game than we do on the review.
Fortunately, you can play a fun review game without taking time away from the actual review.
Join us as we discuss 7 review games that won't waste your time.
Get links & written explanations at www.teach4theheart.com/reviewgames
Ever think about flipping your classroom but not really know where to start?
Join us as we answer all your most questions about how to flip your classroom - and why you (and your students) will love doing so.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/flip.
Find out more about MathLight at www.mymathlight.com.
Blank stares, confused looks, bombed tests - these are all signs that your students just aren't understanding what you're teaching them.
Join us as we discuss practical tips to help your students understand concepts that they're confused about.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/understand
If you're thinking seriously about quitting teaching, you owe it to yourself, your students, and your families to make the right decision.
In this episode, we discuss 6 key questions to ask yourself when you're considering quitting teaching.
Get links & notes at www.teach4theheart.com/quitteaching.
Ever suspect a student of something but you're just not sure? Maybe you think they cheated - or that they're lying to you. But how can you proceed when you don't know for sure what happened?
In this episode, you'll discover a simple solution for those times you suspect a student but just aren't sure what happened.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/suspect.
Find out more about Classroom Management 101 at www.teach4theheart.com/cm101.
Are you struggling with classroom management? Is your class (just a little) out of control? If so, you won't want to miss these 10 classroom management changes you should make right now. (Yes, even if it's the end of the school year.)
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/10changes.
Sign up for our free live training at www.teach4theheart.com/training.
Dressing professionally can make a big difference in how your students perceive and respect you - especially if you are a younger teacher or if your students are older.
But how do you dress professionally on a limited teacher's income? That's what we're discussing in today's episode.
Get notes & links and see pictures of cute professional outfits at www.teach4theheart.com/dress.
A student's failing your class - what on earth do you do? Don't panic, don't take it personally, but don't throw your hands up in the air either.
Here are 9 practical ways you can help a failing student.
Get notes & additional resources at www.teach4theheart.com/failingstudent
Do you ever feel like you're alone as a teacher? Like you're facing all these challenges and there's just no one there to help you figure it all out?
In this episode, you'll learn how to connect with like-minded teachers who can encourage, support, and advise you.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/alone.
Find out more about Teach Uplifted at www.teachuplifted.com.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, surrounded by negativity, then this episode is for you.
Join us as we discuss 8 reasons you might be feeling discouraged as a teacher - and how to overcome them.
Join the free 3-day challenge for Christian teachers: Renew Your Joy & Refresh Your Perspective at www.teach4theheart.com/joy.
Get notes & links at www.teach4theheart.com/discouraged.
When you lose your voice as a teacher, you'd do almost anything to get it back!
Join us as we discuss 5 effective methods to restore your lost voice.
Get notes & links at teach4theheart.com/voice
As a Christian teacher in a public school, you may be surprised to discover that religious discussions are not quite as taboo as you might think.
In fact, it is legal to teach about religion in the public school as long as you do it in an academic matter and don't try to convert your students.
Join us as we speak with Finn Laursen, director of CEAI, who shares with us his knowledge of what is and isn't legal for Christian teachers in the public school.
Get notes & links at teach4theheart.com/religion.
Next week we'll be discussing how Christian teachers can legally bring up God & religion in the classroom. But before we get there, we have to answer a very important question - should we?
In other words, is it morally or ethically right to talk about religion in a public school?
In this episode, we examine two common objections to religion in the classroom and see why they might not be quite as valid as so many tend to think.
Get notes & links at teach4theheart.com/objections
Tracking homework and trying to hold students accountable can quickly become a teachers' nightmare. But before you bang your head against the wall, try some of these simple tips to manage homework without going crazy.
Get links & notes at teach4theheart.com/homework.