Forget 20 Questions! Welcome to 102 Questions! It’s the game where your previous student teacher asks you more questions than you ever expect and she continues to ask them long after graduation and well into her first year teaching at the school down the street!
It’s a pretty exciting and high-stakes game if you ask said student teacher…
It is official that I have asked my mentor teacher enough questions to fill 23 pages in the notebook she and her classroom aide have me for Valentine’s Day. 102 questions about kids, parents, and being a teacher! I thought I might take this opportunity to share with you some of the most important answers she gave to my questions. I think sharing with my readers (many of whom are teachers, future teachers, or student teachers) the advice she has given me that has helped me more than either of us can ever know is one good way to keep the goods things coming in our schools!
Question 18- How do you figure out how to stop and think for a minute about what you should do or what is going on?
This answer made me feel a whole lot better about myself because she reminded me that I wasn’t going to be perfect right away and that it was okay not to be. It takes time to learn a skill like teaching.
Question 20- Should I move so so many clips in that short of a time?
If you set up those rules then that is what you should enforce.
We used clips to manage student behavior. They moved up or down depending on their following the rules. It makes sense that when you tell students what you expect and they do not follow it that there are negative consequences. Even if the whole group gets that consequence, you have to stick to you guns.
Question 26- What do you wish you had known when you first started teaching!
I cannot remember what she said to expand on that but I could see it every day in her planning and implementation of the procedures and rules she set up. She was consistent and it made a huge difference in the students’ behavior.
Question 35- How do you make judgments about situations you did not see? Example: boys pushing each other in the restroom.
Give them the benefit of the doubt…
I don’t like this answer because I want students to be honest with me and own up to their misbehavior but being 100% honest, that is never going to happen for many of them. It makes sense and I have given my students the benifit of the doubt many times already. I simply say that I did not see it happen but in the future it should not happen. It seems to work for quite a few of them.
Question 39- How do you determine if a situation is beyond your ability to deal with it on your own? When does it become necessary to involve the principal?
If parents hear about it and would have a problem with it.
This came after the first time I saw her take a student to the office and not handle the situation on her own. After having gone to my building principal’s office deal with something out of my control, it makes sense. If it seems like something a parent would have a major issue with, better be safe than sorry.
Question 72- How do get to the point where your room is quiet while you are doing an activity?
Just keep going and do not acknowledge students who talk out. Tell them, “I am waiting for you to get quiet.” Say, “okay, I’ll wait.” And watch the clock. For every second they talk they loose that much recess.
I included this answer because it proved worthwhile in my class today. We were playing a place value beat-the-teacher game that my students love! They were all so excited they could not stay quiet. Before I showed them the card, I said, “I am waiting for you to get quiet.” They took a minute to settle down but all in all it worked pretty well and I wasn’t shouting over and over again. It works with lining up too. My students are down to only four seconds of missed recess. Rather than three minutes we lost on the third day of school.
Question 81- (this is probably the most important question I asked her all semester long. I have written about it before but felt it necessary to say it again.) Why did you become a teacher and why do you stay after so many aweful things happen?
Kids need stability. I am always going to be here.
Even when the world seems to have forgotten some students, it is the teacher’s role to make them feel worthwhile. To show up for them every day means that someone cares enough to get out of bed for them and believe me some days I might be the only one willing to get out of bed for that student. This one really hits me every day when my students tell me about not seeing their mom or dad every day or how they live with someon who is not their parent.
It’s a tough world, especially for kids, and I am forever greatful that I have someone to ask about the tough stuff I can’t answer on my own. 102 questions later and I still don’t know everything but I am getting there! Small steps make a big difference and every answer puts me closer to where I want to be!