The past ten years as an educator have given me many skills to manage and instruct children at the middle school level. I have found the keys to education to be organization and consistency. These are two elements that middle school aged students crave but they will never admit it.
Classroom organization: To organize my classroom I use pacing guides, require organized student notebooks and implement a behavior plan.
I have found the pacing guides essential to ensure all the curriculum material is presented over the course of the school year. I first create a year-long pacing document which then gets filtered into monthly units, weekly lessons and daily activities. I monitor and adjust my pacing over the course of the school, keeping track of student progress and mastery of material.
I require students to keep an organized notebook that they regularly organize and clean out. Left undirected middle school students tend to dismiss papers as being insignificant, often placing them everywhere but their notebook. As adults we know the value of organization, therefore I give regular notebook checks and often spend extra time working on organization with students who need it.
I keep daily counts of student behavior, homework, and attendance. I then will carry a list of student names with me as I am teaching. If a student chooses to do something that is directly breaking one of our classroom expectations I make a mark on my behavior sheet. At the end of the class I will then record, on student homework logs, any behavior and homework marks students have received.
Consistency: To foster consistency I keep an updated website for parents and students, send monthly newsletters to parents, and work attentively with students.
For the past few years, I have used TeacherWeb as a platform to host my class website. My classroom webpage enables me to post important documents that parents and students can access from home. I will often post class work and homework assignments for students who are missing school for extended durations of time.
I sincerely enjoy sending home a classroom newsletter each month. The newsletter includes pictures of students engaged in activities, classroom announcements, and a brief description of the experiences the students had that month. This method of communication keeps parents knowledgeable about what their child is doing throughout the school day.
Students need to feel they are part of the classroom and that it is a safe place for them to share ideas. I work actively with students answering their questions and fielding their concerns. Working in a school environment for the past ten years has shown me how to be a good listener. I value fostering a supportive atmosphere in the school communities where I teach.