Mentoring and Support for Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers
I have always enjoyed giving little gifts to my students whether for fun, holidays or whatever. Last year, just after Halloween I purchased about 150 small Halloween puzzles for my students for the upcoming school year.
I just passed the puzzles out in some of my classes today. The students really enjoyed them. Sure, I teach high school, but high school kids are sometimes just like little kids, but in big bodies!
As I am distributing the gifts, I teach my students about giving and receiving. One of my students (Carlos) just said he also learned something else today. He said ”We also learn to appreciate what people give in life for someone else’s happiness.”
Well said Carlos! It is students like you that are a pleasure to teach!
One thing that I do in class to make reading aloud a bit more fun is to call on a student, have them read, and then ask them to call on someone that … they admire because of their intelligence, has a nice smile, has a great personality, etc. My students seem to really like this activity and actually pay attention as they are reading!
Yesterday I asked a student to call on someone that she really admired to read the following section. She then asked “Can it be you?” I replied “Sure, why not?” Some of my students said “Ahhh!” in unison. I thanked her and told my class that was the best part of my day! (And, it really was!)
This is my 19th year of teaching and I still love it! I must admit that things have changed significantly over the past years, but I simply remind myself of my purpose in life. . . to teach. I always wanted to be a teacher. As a young girl in elementary school I would “play teacher” and had my own grade book (with several rubber bands separating the pages, just like my teachers’), used a flip chart & a pointer, wrote on a small green chalkboard with white chalk, etc.
Now, I am living that dream. Except I have 2 gradebooks (a brown one with its pages separated by paper clips & divider tabs and another gradebook on my computer), utilize all types of paper such as poster boards & butcher paper, and my “white board” has objectives and lessons written on it in brightly colored dry-erase markers.
The one thing that has remained constant is the love that I have for my students. There are times that, in the middle of a test, I stop my students and ask for their attention. I then tell them “I know this is going to sound really weird, but I want you all to know that I love you all very much.” … And, i mean it. I usually get responses of “Ahhh, we love you too Miss!” or even a few looks of perplexity, but I get lots of big, beautiful smiles! I believe that by my students knowing that I love them, they will feel secure and this in turn will somehow get them to try a little harder.
Just the other day, one of my colleagues (who uses my office when she floats) told me that my students are really good to me. She said that they are respectful and sincere and that it is because of the way that I treat them. I hope to always have their respect. The Golden Rule is my favorite rule! It does work!
Should you be experiencing some tough times, don’t forget our purpose. Our students need us, especially now, more than ever!
The most frustrating part of teaching for me is classroom management. By now, your students have settled in and may be feeling very comfortable with you, and you with them. They may be trying your patience as you are trying to cover all of the material that you can. Sometimes it is good to take a break – tape some sort of number on your tables or desks in order from one to thirty, or how many places that you have for students to sit. (Elementary calendar numbers work well.) As the students enter the classroom one day, stand at the door and assign them a number. They are to sit in the place that matches their number. Make a game out of it. They will figure out very quickly what you have done. Plan it out to where all of the “best friends” and “challenging students” are all spread apart in the room. Make notes of any new problems. The next day when they enter the room, you can change some of the numbers to fix other problems as they arise. Give every student a number as they enter. You don’t have to make a big deal out of who is talking to who, the next day, just split them up until you get a combination that works. You can always make a few changes here and there without having to take class time to move students around who are disruptive. You will avoid the WHINING. This is a subtle, but firm way to remind them exactly who is in charge of your classroom. I found this idea in The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong. This book has a lot of excellent ideas for effective classroom management. You do not need to read it cover to cover, just look for ideas dealing with the problems that you are having with certain students or classes. Another idea, “Class – it’s a new 6-weeks and we are going to start some new procedures!” You can try out different strategies to start next semester with. I promise, trying some of his ideas will make your life a whole lot easier. After 15 years in the classroom, I still use this book religiously. Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones is also an excellent book for understanding classroom management.
Let us know how you are doing and what you need. We are here to help you have a sucessful year!
My mentor in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences is Dr. Merrilyn Cummings from New Mexico State University. Dr. Cummings is the most dedicated instructor I have ever known. I remember how she demanded so much of me as her student, yet I learned so much from her instruction. There is no doubt that Dr. Cummings “knows her stuff!” and has been an excellent mentor for all of her students at NMSU.
One of the most useful books on my bookshelf (near my desk) is entitled Creative Instructional Methods for Family & Consumer Sciences/Nutrition & Wellness by Valerie M. Chamberlain & Merrilyn N. Cummings. It is published by: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, ISBN: 0-07-822616-3. (A big thanks to Marilyn Wragg at TTU-CCFCS for loaning me her copy of the book until I purchased my own.)
The book includes everything a FACS teacher will find useful, from teaching skills and methods to facilitating learner growth.
Do yourselves a big favor and read it…better yet, purchase it! Hopefully it will become one of your favorite books about Family and Consumer Sciences! It is mine!
I can’t believe it is already the month of October! Time is going by so very quickly! Fall is my favorite time of year, so this, for many of us is a wonderful season full of caramel apples, crisp air and colorful leaves.
I just returned from Austin where Miss Angela Ortiz, our TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators) State Officer (President) represented Canutillo High School at the TAFE Sponsors’ Workshop. She and the other officers did an outstanding job presenting their sessions. It gives me such joy to see my students blossom. I am wishing each and every one of you a great school year. May you connect with your students and see them blossom!
Please take advantage of this blog and ask us questions, share your comments and concerns and we will do our best to provide you with ideas for your classroom.