In this first unit of The First Days of School, Harry Wong presents three characteristics of an effective teacher. The three characteristics are: has good classroom management skills, teaches for mastery, and has positive expectations for student success. The effective teacher exhibits positive expectations for all students. Having positive expectations simply means that the teacher believes in the student and that the student can learn. Students will live up to the expectations you set, and to be effective- your expectations should be positive for all students. The effective teacher establishes good classroom management techniques. Classroom Management is practices and procedures that a teacher uses to maintain an environment in which instruction and learning can occur. Effective teachers manage, ineffective teachers discipline; this book guides you in practicing procedures with your students. The effective teacher designs lessons for student mastery. Mastery simply means a student's demonstration that a concept or skill can be performed at a level of proficiency determined by the teacher. Student success in the subject matter of the class will be the result of how well the teacher designs lessons and checks for mastery. You must know how to get students to do their assignments, pass their tests, and work cooperatively.
Wong states that what you do on the first few days of school can determine your success for the rest of the year. Some of the other key ideas that stayed with me from this reading are that new teachers should associate with and learn from positive mentors and avoid teachers that make negative comments, complain and make excuses. It is important to find a mentor who is supportive. Being the new kid on the block it is imperative to work in a collegial manner with all your colleagues. I like the "beg, borrow, and steal!" concept because as new teachers there is no way to walk into a classroom fully equippedtherefore if you see a teacher...
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