Quick List of 50 Teaching Tips General by Joel Wagner - October 14, 2010November 20, 20102 I have had countless discussions lately with some of the newer teachers around me about some general concepts. This is just a random list of a few of the suggestions I have passed along to some of them that might be helpful to you or someone you know in some way. And it comes you way free of charge. Choose your battles Bite your tongue When someone offers you unsolicited advice, give them the impression that you are listening When someone offers you unsolicited advice, listen to them and apply the advice as quickly as possible Most unsolicited teaching advice is given because of a perceived urgent deficiency in your teaching When talking with students about negative behaviors, don’t chase other adults away, they could be used to validate your side of the story if the student or students gang up on you Talk less Only fix one problem at a time Keep students engaged as much as possible Think before you speak Think twice before you discipline Establish a consistent routine and stick with it Finding faults without providing solutions is complaining; and nobody likes a constant complainer Just because something is in black and white doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way Just because someone is in your email inbox doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way Just because someone overheard someone say it doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way You need to teach fundamental technique before you can presume to teach musicality Keep reviewing the fundamentals Most performance problems kids have stem from fundamental problems Control your classroom Practice “the look” Practice getting a classroom silent armed only with “the look” Shut up and teach Many problems can be ironed out with more repetition Prioritize your time Turn the ringer off Kill your cell phone while you are teaching — completely Get out of debt as fast as possible Spend less than you make Don’t save for retirement at 8% compounded annually when you are still borrowing money at 20% compounded daily (credit) Don’t save for retirement at 8% compounded annually when you are still borrowing money at 5.5% compounded monthly (loans) Use cash Pay your bills on time (nothing says “good morning” quite like a 6:30am gym shower) Set multiple alarm clocks Don’t check your email first thing in the morning Don’t check your email right before you leave school Be friendly to office staff Say or wave hello to your principal every day if possible Don’t gossip about students Don’t gossip about teachers Don’t gossip about administrators Ask for help Get to know the parents of your students Communicate better Videotape yourself teaching and watch it with an unbiased eye Don’t try to be friends with the students Don’t try to be enemies with the students Relate with the students as you would with any other person — respectfully Establish systems and routines for repetitive paperwork tasks (assign a student to take attendance each day, etc.) Don’t do anything simply because you think other people expect it or because you don’t want to let them down Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.