March 4, 2021

Tcher Advice Column + Search Engine = Q&A

never be afraid to ask for help quoteThis year I’ve been coaching several pre-service teachers. As they prepare to graduate and embark on their first teaching jobs, I started thinking about how I could help ease their transition into the classroom. My first year of teaching was insane– a student who constantly ran out of the room, a classroom with zero supplies, little collaboration. I so wish I had had an operating manual. In order to help their first years be a little less crazy, I’m hoping to give the teachers I work with a collection of advice from seasoned teachers.

Sure, I’ve got my own advice, but they’ve heard it all before:

  • The work of a teacher is never done, so set limits
  • Make sure your classroom is filled with love and joy
  • Find ways to connect with each and every student
  • Set and communicate clear expectations from day one

I wanted to add more to my list, so I turned to our Tch community. Logging into Q&A, I posted a question soliciting advice for new teachers. As answers rolled in, my list grew longer:

 – “Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help or advice from your experienced colleagues.” – Lauren Collins

– “Don’t be afraid to be the authority figure for students.” – Jeff Killion

– “Observe other teachers and ‘borrow’ their ideas for staying organized.” – Jennifer Heath

– “Classroom management comes before instruction.” – Kimberly Means

– “Never, ever set out for students to like you.” – Katie Novak

– “Have a weekly routine.” – Emily Allen

With one quick post to Q&A, my collection of advice got so much better. Every time I use Q&A I’m excited about how Tchers are using this tool for a wide range of needs.

Q&A can help you take a quick straw poll, like when Zena Blake-Mark asked whether other teachers grade homework for completion or accuracy.

Never, ever set out for students like you Sometimes we all need advice from teachers who have been there. Q&A can act like an advice column—but instead of receiving advice from one “expert” you get advice from an unlimited number of experienced teachers. Paul Arable reached out for help by soliciting advice from teachers who have experienced a negative shift in classroom culture.

Teachers are using Q&A to connect with each other, like when Patience Scott asks for advice about switching teaching credentials to another state.

Classroom management comes before instructionWhen you need a specific resource, Q&A can act like a personalized search engine. One of the teachers I’m working with is teaching the partial quotients strategy to her 4th graders, so I asked for help finding resources that might support her (no one’s answered this one yet, so please lend your                                                                 expertise!)

As an instructional coach, my Q&A addiction has grown into a healthy habit. When I need advice, resources, or expertise, I know just where to turn. How I wish I were able to tap into the brainpower of the Tch community when I was a first year teacher! In fact, I think I’ll add another piece of advice to my list for new teachers:

  • Use Teaching Channel’s Q&A tool when you need help, resources, advice, or support.
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