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All Time Best Teaching Advice

As I have been reading the interviews for the Reader Appreciation Month (by the way, there is room for another 7 interviews. If you don’t send them in, they end on Wednesday!), I have been amazed at the depth of knowledge of some of the readers of this blog.

I was going through my Google Reader the other day and came across a post by Best (and worst) advice. In it, he lists some of the best teaching advice he has received. Additionally, he points to some standard “wisdom” that really isn’t all that wise. It made me think…

If I were to give only one piece of advice to a brand new teacher, what would it be? What is the one top teaching nugget that I would share with someone who was fresh out of the gates and completely clueless?

My best teaching advice

He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Proverbs 13:24

This is without question the best thing I learned as far as keeping my students under control. As a teacher, I must be in control of the learning environment. Otherwise, very little learning happens.

What about you? What is your all time best teaching advice?

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) 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. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

4 thoughts on “All Time Best Teaching Advice

  1. I think the best advice I was ever given was to Learn to be flexible and not take everything the students do personally. Every day could turn out differently than expected and learn to live with this or you will be miserable. Also students do things for many reasons, and possibly because they are just kids so don’t think the negative things they do are directly aimed at you. (I think your advice was perfectly on target too!)

  2. I would say it is much better to over-plan than to under-plan. Every day I post on the board what we will be doing in class and oftentimes I do not get to everything. It is better to have stuff left to do than to have 10 minutes to try to wing it. When you’re just trying to wing it, the students will inevitably try to test your patience :)

  3. Don’t hesitate to call parents with every lurid detail of what their children do in school. Don’t hesitate to call a dozen parents in one day, especially if it’s the day before a week off. Express to them how inconvenient it would be if they were to have to take time off from work to visit, tell them how bright their kids are and how much you want to see them improve.

    I’ve yet to encounter the parents who insist their kids are stupid and express strong desires that they fail.

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