101 Tips for New Teachers and Veterans
Reviewed by Anne Anderson
In 101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use, Annette Breaux provides teachers with practical, common sense answers and advice.
So, what’s new in this Third Edition? According to the Forward:
- Advice on incorporating technology effectively into your lessons.
- Tips for using social media appropriately to connect with others.
- Ask Yourself questions (included in each tip) and Chapter Highlights (following each chapter) to help you apply the ideas in your own classroom.
- A bonus section with simple, succinct, informative lists of what the most effective teachers do (on a daily basis) to deal with students, parents, and co-workers effectively.
Experienced teachers will find this book valuable
Do not be dissuaded by the phrase “New Teachers and Their Mentors” in the title. This book is an excellent resource for veteran teachers! The reading is quick and easy as most tips are only one page long; however, reflecting, practicing, and implementing the tip requires time and energy. One caveat: there is an abundance of bold type which sometimes was a distraction for me.
Section One: Classroom Management
Yes, teachers know to start the year with a classroom management plan. Yes, teachers know to greet students at the door each day. Yes, teachers know not to engage in power struggles with students. But, what happens when we forget what we know? Breaux offers suggestions for how to handle these and a multitude of other classroom management situations. In fact, readers often find a tip with a tip.
Section Two: Planning
Breaux suggests that teachers “set aside a specific time each day for planning and grading—away from distractions.” (page 57) While that is often difficult, it allows for the focused planning that is required of an effective lesson. A well-planned lesson results in more student engagement and increased learning. A well-planned lesson is always an over-planned lesson!
Section Three: Instruction
Here are my picks for the Top 3 Tips in this section:
Tip 47: Vary Your Teaching Strategies
Tip 48: Do What’s Best, Not What’s Easiest
Tip 49: Get Out from Behind the Desk!
Many of the tips in this section link to tips in the first two sections.
Section Four: Professionalism
Obviously, Breaux is a proponent of professional growth, whether through reading, asking questions, or receiving additional training. Common sense seems to be the rule in this section, with tips like use social networking responsively and avoid the gossip group found in most school lounges. Two thumbs up for Tip 63: Dress Like a Professional.
Section Five: Motivation and Rapport
The author reminds us that the little things really matter—things like acknowledging birthdays, giving compliments, and attending school functions. (Tip 87)
Section Six: A Teacher’s Influence
This section is the one to read and reread, especially on those days when you are ready to quit! Be sure to follow Tip 97: Keep an “I Am Special” Folder. Tuck those cards and notes from students, parents, and administrators in there. This folder serves to remind you that you do make a difference.
This section comes from Seven Simple Secrets: What the BEST Teachers Know and Do! by Annette Breaux and Todd Whitaker. These lists might serve as conversation starters in grade-level meetings, team meetings, or faculty meetings.
101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use is a resource that supports all teachers. New teachers may not know what questions to ask! Mentor teachers are not expected to know all the answers!
Anne Anderson finally got out of the 8th grade after 24 years and 9 weeks. She spent the next 9 years sharing her expertise in literacy and writing with K-12 teachers and administrators throughout the district. She credits National Writing Project and Poetry Alive! as turning points in her growth as a teacher. She now shares her expertise nationwide as an educational consultant and through her website and her bi-monthly newsletter, Spotlight on Success.