Teaching is tough. And teachers, like the rest of the population, aren't perfect. Yet good teaching happens, and great teachers continue to inspire and educate generations of students. See Me After Class helps those great teachers of the future to survive the classroom long enough to become great.
Fueled by hundreds of hilarious—and sometimes shocking—tales from the teachers who lived them, Elden provides tips and strategies that deal head-on with the challenges that aren't covered in new-teacher training. Lessons can go wrong. Parents may yell at you. Sunday evenings will sometimes be accompanied by the dreaded countdown to Monday morning. As a veteran teacher, Elden offers funny, practical, and honest advice, to help teachers walk through the doors of their classrooms day after day with clarity, confidence...and sanity!
"A useful, empathetic guide to weathering the first-year lumps...a frothy, satisfying Guinness for the teacher's soul."—Dan Brown, NBCT, Director of the Future Educators Association, and author of The Great Expectations School
"See Me After Class is a must-have book for any teacher's bookshelf. On second thought, you'll probably want to keep it on your classroom desk since you'll use it so much!"—Larry Ferlazzo, teacher and author of Helping Students Motivate Themselves
"This is the kind of no-nonsense straight talk that teachers are starved for, but too rarely get...Roxanna Elden tells it like it is, with a heavy dose of practicality, a dash of cynicism, a raft of constructive suggestions, and plenty of wry humor."—Rick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at AEI, author of Education Week blog, "Rich Hess Straight Up"
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About the Author
Roxanna Elden has taught adult education, elementary school, middle school, high school, day school, night school, Saturday school, and summer school. She has stood in front of classrooms in big cities from Chicago to Houston. In short, she has seen it all – including how many good teachers give up too soon and for the wrong reasons.
Ms. Elden currently teaches in the Miami-Dade County Public School system and develops presentations for new teachers in the Miami area.
Read an Excerpt
WHAT THIS BOOK IS...AND IS NOT
Some teachers are naturals from the first day. They instinctively motivate students, set high expectations, and manage-not discipline-their classes. They stay positive and organized, tracking progress in binders of color-coded data and planning lessons that address each child's unique learning modality. These teachers don't just teach-they inspire! They spring out of bed each morning knowing materials are laid out, papers are graded, and their classrooms are welcoming environments where all students can succeed. This book is not for them.
This book is for anyone who wishes those teachers would stop telling you how organized they are while you stare at a growing stack of ungraded essays. It's for those of you who are sleeping less than ever before, raising your voices louder than you ever imagined you would, and wondering why kids take sooooo long in the bathroom and often come out covered in water. This is for any new teacher wondering whether to get out of bed at all.
Read this when a lesson goes horribly wrong, when your whole class "forgets" a major project, or when a parent curses at you in front of the kids. Pull it out at lunch on a bad day or on Sunday night as you battle those six-more-hours-till-Monday stomach cramps. This is meant to get you to school tomorrow.
But first, a few warnings...
THIS BOOK IS NOT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
No book can replace the difficult, necessary process of learning to teach. Read this after you have attended more than enough workshops, received so many lists of recommended books you get tired from reading the lists, and gotten plenty of advice about time-consuming things you could do to be a better teacher. I'm assuming you've heard the terms benchmark, classroom management, and data-driven instruction. You also know which of these describes what you were doing wrong when your principal walked in.
You may even be enrolled in a certification program, where you spend some of the longest hours of your life watching PowerPoint presentations on the importance of hands-on lessons, taking multiple-choice practice tests, and praying this isn't how your students feel while you're teaching.
This book is meant to keep you from getting discouraged when it seems like all those fabulous ideas you learned in training don't work in your own classroom: no one understands the directions, it turns out you had no business giving those kids glue in the first place, and it also turns out the National Geographic magazines you found cheap and felt great about became a gallery of nude pictures for your sixth-graders. It's also for the next day, when parents show up to complain-even though their kids are downloading much more graphic pictures on their home computers and bringing them to school...which is why their printers ran out of ink...which is why their projects aren't finished.
You, on the other hand, still have to prepare that sample hands-on lesson plan for your training class tonight.
THIS BOOK IS NOT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE TEACHER'S SOUL
It's more like Hard Liquor for the Teacher's Soul-new teachers need something stronger than chicken soup. Read this on the days when any book by a teacher who taught kids to play violin during lunch or took busloads of perfectly behaved fifth-graders on a tour of college campuses makes you want to beat your head against the wall until pieces of scalp and hair are all over the place.
The basis for this book is an idea that worked for me: teachers willing to admit their mistakes are much more helpful to rookies than those who say, "Well, they would know better than to do that in my class." The stories in this book should be bad enough to make you feel better.
The real reason to feel better, though, is that all the people who shared their stories in this book went on to become successful, experienced teachers. They're not administrators (who, don't get me wrong, do important jobs). They're not counselors (who also do important jobs). They're not presenters or auditors from a downtown office (who do...jobs).
They are teachers. In classrooms. And they love it-most days.
THIS BOOK IS NOT TEACHING FOR DUMMIES
Dummies shouldn't be teachers. As a country, we need educators who have brains, dedication, enthusiasm, and common sense. We need people who want to change things in the schools where things most need to change.
But we need you to stay at your jobs, and stay sane.
Acting like a hard job can be done easily is a sure way to do it wrong. The knowledge teachers need is complicated, it's important, and it's way more than anyone can learn in one year. The great teachers of the future know they're not great yet. They know they're making mistakes, and some of those mistakes are big. They're sorting through a million pieces of advice, each starting with the words "All you have to do is...," until they want to lie on their backs in the school hallway and yell, "This is all the time and energy I have! Can someone please tell me what I should really spend it on?"
If you can relate to the preceding paragraph, you were my inspiration. And this book is for you.
Table of Contents
1. What This Book Is...and Is Not
2. The Ten Things You Will Wish Someone Had Told You
3. First Daze
4. Maintaining and Regaining Your Sanity, One Month at a Time
5. Piles and Files: Organization and Time Management
6. Your Teacher Personality: Faking It, Making It
7. Classroom Management: Easier Said Than Done
8. Popular Procedures That (Probably) Prevent Problems
9. The Due-Date Blues: When High Expectations Meet Low Motivation
10. No Child Left...Yeah, Yeah, You Know: Different Types of Students and What Each Type Needs from You
11. Parents: The Other Responsible Adult
12. The Teachers' Lounge: Making It Work with the People You Work With
13. Please Report to the Principal's Office
14. Stressin' About Lessons
15. Observation Information
16. Testing, Testing
17. Grading Work Without Hating Work
18. Moments We're Not Proud Of
19. Dos and Don'ts for Helping New Teachers in Your School
20. Making Next Year Better