Classroom Advice for New Teachers

A Proactive Approach for Meeting the Daily Challenges of the Profession

by JEFF JULIAN

Named "#1 New Release" in its category by Amazon!

I'd like to hear your comments! Visit my teaching blog at this address, and share your thoughts:


https://jeffjuliansteachingblog.blogspot.com/atom.xml

My book made it into the newspaper! Here's an article in the Dunkirk Observer:

https://www.observertoday.com/news/page-one/2019/06/dunkirk-native-publishes-book-for-new-teachers/

Here's an article in the Jamestown Post-Journal:

https://www.post-journal.com/news/local-news/2019/06/dunkirk-native-publishes-book-for-new-teachers/

"Julian’s book is the ideal balance of practical advice and real-life scenarios." Mary Heyl, Dunkirk Observer, June 9, 2019

To book interviews and speaking engagements:

Phone or text: (716) 485-8748

Performance Video:


https://youtu.be/J-nJ1IRmRzo


CLICK BELOW TO VIEW RESUME:
Jeff's Resume.docx


Thank you to Dr. John Hamels for inviting me to be a guest on your outstanding television show, Chautauqua Sunrise. If you would like to see the show, follow this link. My segment starts at 19:00! https://youtu.be/073ro0PuQCg

I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as a teacher for 33 years, and I would like to help new teachers have a positive experience as they enter this wonderful profession. Based on my own experiences, I wrote a book called Classroom Advice for New Teachers: A Proactive Approach for Meeting the Daily Challenges of the Profession. I am happy to say that it was accepted for publication by Rowman & Littlefield, and began shipping on July 12, 2019. Check your favorite bookseller or follow the links above!

My book offers new teachers a proactive approach to the entire spectrum of the profession, encompassing all of the following: making the decision to become a teacher; applying; interviewing; setting up a classroom; accessing curriculum; creating lesson plans and a gradebook; presenting material effectively; creating a positive learning environment based on empathy and respect; connecting with students, colleagues, administrators, and parents; preventing cheating and bullying; maintaining order; using educational technology; all the way to avoiding late-career burnout.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the chapter on empathy:

For many students, school can be a lonely place. They can feel alienated and ostracized, even as they travel from class to class among a large crowd of their peers. Even students who are part of a group of friends can have the feeling that they are on the edge of banishment, if they make one wrong move or say one wrong word. This uncertainty contributes to the stress every student experiences on a daily basis, and it almost always has a detrimental effect on their ability to concentrate on your curriculum.

IN PRACTICE: You are an elementary teacher, and you notice out your classroom window that a young student is running through a blizzard in the open field next to the school, in a direction away from the building. He is not wearing a coat. Moments later, you see the principal running through the snow in pursuit of the student. What is the most likely explanation for this scenario?

  1. The student has no idea where he is or where he is supposed to be
  2. The student wants to play in the snow
  3. The student is so overwhelmed by the stress of an average school day that he felt the need to bolt from the building and run for his life

Is it possible that the student is clueless? Not likely. Is it possible that he wants to play in the snow? Also not likely, because he didn’t take the time to put on a coat before going out in the heavy snowfall. Like many students, he was overwhelmed by administrators, teachers, classes, tests, assignments, bells, and fellow students, all of which not only cause considerable frustration, fear, and confusion to him, but also gives him the impression that he is not wanted at the school, that it is not a place he belongs or is accepted.

The act of a student bolting from the school building is not an uncommon occurrence, and most schools are equipped to prevent this with cameras, alarms, and school resource officers.

Instead, teachers need to think deeply about the atmosphere that is created collectively, through all of our classrooms, as students proceed from one to the next, feeling more unwelcome, frustrated, and afraid with each experience, until running from the building into a snowstorm seems like an acceptable alternative to enduring what is inside the building.

Your classroom needs to be the antidote to those feelings of alienation. Avoid language and even subtle reactions that indicate intolerance and bias, and never treat a student as if you would prefer that he or she were not in your presence. Tell the students often that you are happy to see every one of them in your class every day.

Go out of your way to make every student feel accepted, appreciated, and respected for exactly who he or she is.

They may not believe you at first, but if you match your actions to your words, eventually every student in your class will come to believe that you value their presence. The importance of this cannot be overstated, because your room might very well be the only place a student feels welcome and accepted. This will contribute to the goodwill that forms the bonds between your students and you, and increases their willingness to give you their cooperation.

Demanding respect only works temporarily—you must earn it by forging a connection with each student, regardless of popularity, and to then show enthusiasm and expertise when discussing the class and your subject. Let the students feel like you are accomplishing something important together, and every single one of them is a part of it.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the chapter on setting and enforcing rules:

On the first day, it is a good idea to tell the students something that you are going to do, such as passing out a form at a certain time or performing any other small act, then proceed to do exactly what you said you were going to do. This shows the students that when you say something, it has value, and you are willing to back up your words with action. It works best when it is something positive, like promising the students that when they finish their classwork that you will do a class activity that they like.

When you follow through, you establish credibility, without having to resort to punishments or other negative actions. Your students are more likely to follow the classroom rules, because they expect that you will stand behind those rules.

As you are deciding on classroom rules, be sure to allow students to maintain basic needs without excessive suspicion on your part. Unless it violates your school’s rules, allow students to use the restroom, visit the nurse, and gain access to water. If any individual student abuses this privilege, you can speak to the student about it and consider placing restrictions on that particular student. This discussion should always be private--never confront a student on such a potentially embarrassing matter in front of other students.

Proceed carefully, because personal and medical issues can play a role in a student’s requests for the restroom, nurse, or water fountain, and challenging a student on this issue when the student has legitimate cause for the request can result in permanent harm to your credibility with the student.

Just as damaging is the fact that the student, if wrongly accused on this sensitive issue, will be deeply offended and humiliated in a way that causes resentment that the student will remember forever.

IN PRACTICE: You are a new teacher chaperoning a group of 12th-grade students on a field trip with a colleague who has been teaching for over thirty years. During the long bus ride home, two female students approach you and ask to stop the bus at the nearest service station so that they can visit a restroom. The veteran teacher overhears and angrily rejects their request, accusing them of the ulterior motive of wanting to smoke a cigarette. They turn again to you, and implore you to grant their request, telling you that it is an emergency. What do you do?

  1. Tell them that you’ll ignore your more experienced colleague and stop the bus
  2. Tell them that you’ll defer to your experienced colleague’s judgment and refuse to stop the bus
  3. Tell them that you’ll confer privately with your colleague and let them know your decision

It is tempting to choose the first option, because the students are convincing, and no one wants to be wrong when questioning the validity of someone’s need to use a restroom. The problem is that by complying with the students’ request, you would undermine the authority of your colleague, and run the risk of the students using the opportunity to smoke. If you choose the second option, and the students actually have a restroom emergency, your decision may cause humiliation that lasts a lifetime.

The young teacher chose the third option, and asked to speak privately with the veteran teacher. He told his experienced colleague that he was uncomfortable denying the students’ ability to use the restroom, because the possible consequences of the denial could be worse than the possible consequences of trusting the students. The veteran teacher was still skeptical, but stopped the bus as a favor to the young teacher. With this approach, the new instructor went forward with the least potentially-damaging decision, while still displaying respect and deference for his experienced colleague.

Establish and follow the rules, but keep the process as positive as possible.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the chapter on bullying:

Recently, awareness has been raised about the effects of bullying. In one district, the school psychologist distributed a survey so that students could provide information about the nature and extent of our bullying problem. What do you think the survey revealed?

  1. There isn’t a serious problem with bullying
  2. Many of the students are being bullied, mainly by other students
  3. Many of the students felt that they are being bullied by teachers as well as students

It may surprise you, but the third option is correct. While teachers believe they are setting a high standard--and it is important to do so in an academic sense--the students perceive that their personal relationships with some of their teachers is characterized by inflexibility, lack of empathy, and cruelty. Those attributes have nothing to do with rigorous academic standards. Undoubtedly, the teachers would be shocked to hear this, and many faculty members in that particular district certainly were, but it underscores the idea that students sometimes receive a message the teacher never intends to send.

Be cognizant of the impression you are making on your students. They look up to you, and your words and actions are powerful.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the section on scoring:

When you create a test, you need to calculate the value of each section. That information should be shared with your students before your test, so that they know the relative importance of each section of material and can arrange their studying priorities accordingly. For sections of any assessment that are not objective, and therefore require judgment on your part, you’ll need to create a rubric. This is a guide that shows the qualities that need to be present in the essay, project, or performance, along with the potential point values for each of those qualities.

If those aspects of the essay are not met to their full potential, a descending list of point values shows the characteristics associated with each less-than-perfect score. Again, your students need to be in possession of the rubric before they take the assessment, so that they are aware of the qualities and characteristics on which they are being scored. Refer carefully to the rubric while scoring, because it will help you avoid bias when completing any subjective assigning of grades.

Late work should always be penalized in some manner, because it is important to reinforce punctuality as a life skill. It is also important to respect the effort and sacrifice for the students who did whatever was necessary to complete the assignment on time. Many of them had extra-curricular activities and other commitments they had to prioritize in order to complete your assignment, and failing to take that into account is insulting, demoralizing, and a disincentive for their continued diligence.

However, you should avoid giving an immediate loss of all credit. To the unmotivated student, this absolves him or her of all responsibility after the initial due date. It also causes a catastrophic effect on a student’s average that can be nearly impossible to overcome, which then reinforces a sense of futility on a student who may already feel disconnected with the school, and who is already reluctant to make any effort to complete work.

A better approach is to create a descending scale of credit for the timely submission of work. This can be part of your rubric, and it should be known to all of your students from the first day. The best way to accomplish this is to list it on your grading policy that you distribute to all students on the first day. The incremental loss of points gives the students an opportunity to complete the work while still rewarding the students who completed it on time. Complete loss of credit should only be given to an assignment that is still not turned in after the descending point values have been exhausted.

The loss of hope is a powerful force that takes away a student’s motivation, and often leads to dropping out of school entirely. As a teacher, you’ll want to be aware of this phenomenon, and do everything in your power to preserve a pathway for every student to achieve success.

Never give up hope for any student, and never let any student lose the prospect of success.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the chapter on how to keep order:

Don’t ever give an ultimatum to your students.

It is much more effective to give the class a goal with a concrete reward for reaching it, such as every student completing an assignment. Then, make sure you fulfill your promise. Never call out a student directly--it forces the student to save face by putting on a show of defiance.

Disruptive behavior should be handled calmly through direct conversation with the student, away from the view of the rest of the class.

Under normal conditions, a class will only take pleasure in your discomfort if you act like you are above everyone else. Showing magnanimity at a time when the student needs a break will most often be rewarded by gratitude, respect, and loyalty on the part of the student in the future. You have the ability to crush him; you don’t need to prove it. If the behavior occurs again, speak to the student privately to remind him or her of your expectation of respect.

IN PRACTICE: You are a relatively new 9th-grade teacher, and you have taken great care to set up your classroom in an orderly, comfortable arrangement conducive to class discussions. As the class works on an assignment, a male student slides his desk several feet so that it is adjacent to a female student’s desk. You would like to keep the room in order, so you approach the male student and ask him in a calm and friendly voice to please move his desk back where it belongs. He responds by staring at you in silence, and does not move. What should you do?

  1. Ignore the situation, since the student is not really causing a disruption
  2. In a reasonable and quiet voice, ask him to speak to you after class
  3. Tell him to move his desk back within five seconds, or he is going to have to report to the office

The first response can work, but only if the student is actually not causing a disruption, in which case, you did not need to ask him to move. You also run the risk of demonstrating to the class that if you make a request from a student, it is not necessary for the student to comply. Sometimes, developing the wisdom to know how to choose your battles, along with the time and place for them, can be the most valuable information to have as a teacher.

The second choice preserves the dignity of the student and keeps the class moving, while still showing the class that your words have credibility without the showdown that comes with an ultimatum. The perception that if you say something, it is not necessarily important, can be the first step on a slippery slope toward a class treating you with disrespect.

The third option is practically the definition of an ultimatum. The student feels as if the entire class is watching him--and they are--so he cannot allow himself to give in. The student will respond to you in a completely different manner under these conditions, and it is in the interest of both you and the student to have the conversation at a different time, when the student’s peers are not watching.

In reality, the teacher did not feel as if it would be possible to ignore the student, since the entire class heard him request for the student to move. He tried the ultimatum, and the student still did not move. His classmates began to get worried, because the tension of the standoff made them uncomfortable, and they urged him to comply.

The teacher finally remembered the counterproductivity of the ultimatum approach, and asked the student to remain in the room after the bell rang. When the last student exited the room, the student burst into tears, apologized, and said that he was trying to impress the girl in the next desk, and did not feel that he could give in without feeling humiliated.

Preserve the dignity of a student, and you are much more likely to gain that student’s cooperation.

Here is an excerpt from my book, contained in the chapter on appreciation:

The difference between honest appreciation and cheap flattery is that honest appreciation is truthful, where flattery is insincere. There is good in every student. It is your job to find it. Make yourself determined to appreciate the individual traits that make each student unique.

The combination of the individual characteristics of the students is what determines the personality of the overall class. Demonstrate to the students that you respect those characteristics by complimenting them whenever possible. The students will pick up on the behavior you model, and will treat each other with greater respect. This can sometimes be a slow process, but it definitely pays off eventually. Your class will have a stronger bond, and for some students, it may be the place they feel safest and most appreciated.

Use honest appreciation with each individual student whenever you can.

IN PRACTICE: You are a high-school instructor in your first year as a teacher, and you have been given the responsibility of directing the school play, because no one else wants to do it. The play calls for a janitor to be revealed as the murderer in a surprise ending, so the casting of that role is especially important. One particular 12th grader has some of the characteristics that would fit the part perfectly, and he seems eager to take part in the production.

You post the roles granted to each student, and minutes later you are met by a group of students and even teachers who say that you are making a big mistake assigning a major role to the 12th grader. Apparently, he had only one line in the previous year’s play, and almost ruined the entire production through his inability to say the one line correctly. They are all concerned that their play is doomed from the start with him in the leading role. What should you say to the student?

  1. I’m sorry--nobody thinks you can do this, so I’m recasting the part.
  2. I just discovered a small part that might be better for you!
  3. I believe you can do this, so every time I see you, I want you to have the script in your hand to prove you’re learning the lines. I know you have it in you!

Once again, it is possible to make a case for any of these three choices. Certainly, the consensus among the cast and crew was that the teacher should choose the first option, and some of the more kind-hearted among them would have been satisfied with the second. Not knowing any better, the teacher chose the third.

At first, it did not seem to be the right decision. The janitor in the play had to quote Shakespeare, and the student had trouble saying the lines even while he was reading directly from the script. The cast was pessimistic. The teacher decided to give praise to the student every time he spoke his line correctly, and was sure to offer that praise in front of the other students. Soon, his castmates began to join the teacher in praising him.

The positive reinforcement worked, and on opening night, the teacher stood outside the exit doors and heard countless audience members exclaiming their disbelief that our student, cast as the janitor, was onstage quoting Shakespeare so eloquently. One of the common phrases the teacher heard was “I can’t believe that was him up there!” When the student graduated, he wrote the teacher a note, saying “You were the only one who ever believed in me, and I’ll remember that until the day I die.”

Sadly, that day would be soon--he would lose his life in a car accident a few years later. To this day, the teacher takes some comfort in knowing that the student was inspired to achieve something no one thought he could do, possibly even himself, and suspects the student felt great satisfaction from his achievement.

Do not ever tell students they are not capable of something--tell them they can do it, and make them believe it.

Here is a list of the main points covered in this book:

  • It is a tremendous privilege for you to stand in front of a group of young people and presume to explain to them what the world is like.
  • Always remember the honor of playing this role in the lives of your students, and make sure you give an indication to them every day that you remember it.
  • You are likely to be happier and more productive if you focus on your students and refuse to engage in controversies about the public's view of the profession.
  • The factor that makes teachers important is the role they play in the lives of their students, not the act of telling others about their importance.
  • Stay positive in the face of criticism by showing gratitude and humility.
  • Your salary, benefits, and conditions should not be deciding factors in whether or not you will pursue a career in education. The main consideration is whether you want to play an important role in the lives of students. If you go into teaching for the summer vacations, you will find that it is a long way to the summer.
  • Make sure your students know that the reason you are a teacher is because you like working with them and want to help them.
  • As teachers, our influence extends beyond what we even know.
  • If you are going to pursue a teaching position in another area or state, research the details carefully before you go.
  • Make sure you have multiple copies of your diplomas, certificates, reference letters, and any other supporting documentation you will need. Keep all of your background information compiled and stored in one easily-accessible location for when you are filling out applications.
  • Read a book outside of school, and think about what it teaches you about life.
  • When asked about your background in the subject material, always concentrate on expressing what you know, not what you do not know.
  • Be sure to show a deep interest in the subject matter in the course for which you are interviewing, and a desire to help the students discover the same fascination with it that you have.
  • You should be sure to have several stories ready to convey to your interviewers, each involving optimism, overcoming obstacles, and student success.
  • If you combine the approach of optimism and enthusiasm while keeping in mind the qualities that represent you at your best, it is difficult for you to go too far wrong in your answer to any question.
  • During your interview, above all else, stay positive and enthusiastic at all times. Remember why you love your subject and why you love working with students, and then convey that to your interviewers.
  • Throughout the interview process, make sure that any mention of students is optimistic and hopeful.
  • You should enroll in the union if it is offered in your district in order to help maintain a reasonable balance between administration and teachers, but avoid public displays of protest until your position is more secure.
  • The atmosphere you create, including your physical surroundings and your demeanor, will be reflected back to you by your students.
  • The tone of the classroom is the responsibility of the teacher, not the students.
  • Within reason, teachers need to display their own unique practices and expectations in order to serve the needs of all students.
  • Create and maintain a positive relationship with your school’s secretarial, technical, and custodial staff members. They will play a large role in your life.
  • Never assume that you outrank anyone, and be sure you never behave as if you think you do.
  • Before the start of the school year, map out the time frame for each topic throughout the year so that you are sure you will be able to cover the entire curriculum with your students.
  • As always, the teacher’s own conduct is the most effective character lesson of all. When you react to adversity with integrity and honor, students notice and are influenced positively by it.
  • You should have a lesson plan with, at minimum, objectives, procedures, and the state standards covered for every class, every day.
  • Use your district’s online technology to keep parents and students informed about their progress throughout the year.
  • Take the time to read student assignments, score their tests, and post their grades with as little turnaround time as possible.
  • Own the room! A good way to establish that the room will follow your positive, optimistic example is to greet your students at the door.
  • Show the students that you like spending your time with them in your classroom. Never give them an indication you would rather be somewhere else.
  • Your students will be significantly more motivated to follow the rules of your school as well as the ones you create for your classroom if you are conspicuously following them yourself.
  • Making yourself available to help students will significantly contribute to your reputation for professionalism. Put aside personal tasks, within reason, to place student assistance as a priority.
  • Always review and explain the rationale for the rules of your classroom with your students.
  • Personal and medical issues can play a role in a student’s requests for the restroom, nurse, or water fountain, and challenging a student on this issue when the student has legitimate cause for the request can result in permanent harm to your credibility with the student.
  • Establish and follow the rules, but keep the process as positive as possible.
  • The idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy really exists. Give the students a vision of themselves that they want to live up to.
  • Bullying is a problem that deserves the attention it has been getting, and we need to do everything in our power to stop it. There are a lot of things that happen between students when adults are not watching.
  • Be cognizant of the impression you are making on your students. They look up to you, and your words and actions are powerful.
  • There is a reason why you chose to be a teacher of the subject you are teaching—it is because you love the material. Make sure the students see why you love it.
  • All students, from the highest-achieving to the least-motivated, crave intellectual stimulation. If they do not get it from you and your lesson, they will be tempted to get it by disrupting and undermining you and your lesson.
  • In the course of explaining complex concepts to students, make the information relatable to their lives.
  • Do not be afraid to use your own talents and interests to increase the interest and understanding of your students.
  • Your time with the students is precious; never give them the impression that you are willing to waste that time with excessive distractions and pointless tangents.
  • One method of discussion involves the teacher posing an “essential question,” which is fundamentally important to the main idea of your topic. Ideally, your question should be inquiry-based, which is to say that it calls for the higher-level thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • It is all right for you to serve as a source for the knowledge and comprehension bases for the students to build on in a discussion, but avoid going overboard. Keep in mind--it’s about them, not you.
  • The job of a teacher is to teach students how to think, not to think for them.
  • Encourage your students to form their own opinions based on facts and their own logic, values, and experiences. Remain objective and avoid bias at all times.
  • Keep all of the levels of thinking and learning in mind as you plan your lessons, and create a balance where students are using the information in your curriculum for higher-level activities.
  • Your approach to any topic should be a balance between discovery, student-based approaches, and explanatory, teacher-based discussions to serve the entire spectrum of learning styles.
  • Group projects can be an effective way for students to become engaged in the learning process, and utilize skills that they normally would not use in an academic class to further their learning of your subject.
  • Your first goal--and most important task--as a public speaker is to gain the goodwill of your audience.
  • If you make a mistake, admit it without hesitation and move on.
  • Take care to avoid bias in your language against classes, races, genders, orientations, or any other group of people.
  • Some of your students are going to become our carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, and mechanics. They should never be made to feel as if the validity and importance of their skills are in any way minimized by you or others in the class.
  • You are responsible for the education of all students who have been placed in your classroom, regardless of any potential challenges they bring with them.
  • Your instructional strategies should include provisions for the entire spectrum of learners, including those with special needs who are entitled to accommodations, gifted students who are desperate for a challenging, rigorous approach, students who are learning English for the first time, and everyone in between. As you plan each one of your lessons, do not ever neglect to think deeply about this.
  • Never use public humiliation against a student.
  • It is far better to help your students understand your course material before you give them the test, rather than reprimanding them if they fail to perform well on the test.
  • Never express anger, frustration, or impatience at students for their lack of knowledge or ability--that lack of knowledge and ability is your responsibility to fix, and it is the reason you have a job.
  • Stop cheating before it begins.
  • Never give up hope for any student, and never let any student lose the prospect of success.
  • The most effective teachers include relevant thought processes, skills, test formats, and curriculum that help students prepare for standardized tests. They balance these with other worthy educational practices like creative projects, discussions, discovery-based assignments, and evaluative papers in which students take and defend a position.
  • Some things are more important than school.
  • Try to avoid adding to the misery of your students, and lift them up instead.
  • We all want acceptance, appreciation, and respect. The best way to achieve that is to forge connections with others based on goodwill.
  • Keep your voice calm.
  • Preventing disorder before it begins is preferable to dealing with problems after they happen, and every problem you avoid makes your classroom a better place.
  • Your demeanor should strike a balance between kindness and authority.
  • When unforeseen things takes place, the laughter is going to happen. It can be behind your back, at you, or with you. It is always better to laugh with your students.
  • Sincerity wins every encounter.
  • Every minute with your students is important, so do not give them the impression that any of that time can be discarded.
  • Never give an ultimatum to your students.
  • Disruptive behavior should be handled calmly through direct conversation with the student, away from the view of the rest of the class.
  • Preserve the dignity of a student, and you are much more likely to gain that student’s cooperation.
  • Avoid selective enforcement of the rules.
  • In any tense situation, your goal as a teacher is to de-escalate the situation.
  • Let your room serve as a sanctuary where every student is treated with kindness and respect.
  • We should make every student feel welcome, because our classroom might be the only place in the world a student feels that way.
  • Think deeply about the atmosphere that is created collectively, through all of our classrooms, as students proceed from one to the next, feeling more unwelcome, frustrated, and afraid with each experience, until bolting from the building into a snowstorm seems like an acceptable alternative to enduring what is inside the building.
  • Go out of your way to make every student feel accepted, appreciated, and respected for exactly who he or she is.
  • Demanding respect only works temporarily—you must earn it by forging a connection with each student, regardless of popularity, and to then show enthusiasm and expertise when discussing the class and your subject. Let the students feel like you are accomplishing something important together, and every single one of them is a part of it.
  • Use honest appreciation with each individual student whenever you can.
  • Never tell students they are not capable of something--tell them they can do it, and make them believe it.
  • The feeling of being on the wrong end of favoritism is a powerful force that causes frustration and negativity among students, and you need to be sure you never act as if you would rather spend your time with some students rather than others.
  • What happened to you when you were young is not the fault of your current students, so do not ever take out your resentments and biases on them.
  • Technology is best used when it allows all students to engage in an active role while learning the material.
  • The challenge for teachers is to utilize the technology in a manner that takes advantage of its benefits while minimizing the potential problems brought about by the latest advances in technology.
  • As always, it is better to prevent a problem from happening instead of punishing students after it happens, and this applies to technology as well.
  • Use technology to enhance student engagement in your class with your curriculum, and to minimize its use for distractions.
  • Do not be too quick to judge your colleagues harshly or to be overly-influenced by them.
  • Observe the full spectrum of practices by your colleagues, and think carefully about whether any of their methods would work for you.
  • Do not speak negatively to teachers about other teachers, and above all, never, ever speak negatively about other teachers with your students.
  • You cannot always control how your administrator will choose to perceive your performance, but your positive and constructive reaction to the evaluation and your willingness to accept criticism will go a long way toward demonstrating to your administrator that you are a person he or she would like to continue to work with long into the future.
  • Later in your career, if you have been granted tenure and have a record of achievement, you will have earned the right to second-guess someone else’s philosophy. Even then, do it in a respectful manner, and until then, keep an open mind.
  • Different students respond to different methods, so keep an open mind and use as many procedures as you can without arrogance or contempt about any of them, old or new.
  • Never pass up an opportunity for good public relations.
  • Hyper-involved “helicopter parents” are your friends, not your enemies. Find a way to direct their energy toward a purpose that helps you.
  • The best way to forge a positive relationship with parents is to show enthusiasm for their children and the subject you teach them.
  • Teachers are mandated reporters, so you are required by law to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse.
  • Teaching always comes first--it takes priority over extra-curricular jobs.
  • Never complain about any aspect of your job in front of parents, community members, or students.
  • Finish as much graduate work as possible before your first teaching job.
  • Do everything possible to avoid distractions and additional demands on your time and attention during your first several years as a teacher.
  • Commiseration with your colleagues can be tempting, especially when you’re frustrated, but you will ultimately feel better if you stay positive.
  • Shared unhappiness builds more of it.
  • Stay calm, avoid taking setbacks personally, and look for solutions to problems instead of assigning blame.
  • The recommendations we provide for students can create opportunities for them that will dramatically affect the rest of their lives in a positive manner, and it is a reminder to the teacher that our profession is one in which we are privileged to take part.
  • Embrace the opportunity to teach new courses and grade levels.
  • Cross-curricular collaboration helps students see the connections between subjects as well as the relevance of your material, and helps the teachers view their material with a new perspective.
  • Try new ideas that will inspire and motivate your classes, because new and exciting techniques will inspire and motivate you along with your students.
  • You need to forgive yourself for missteps, minimize the damage, apologize and make restitution, learn from the experience, then move forward.
  • If you want to avoid burnout and gain the most satisfaction possible from your career, you need to forgive yourself, those who have held your mistakes against you, and those who have acted against your interests with or without apparent cause. They, like you, are doing their best to survive and are often demoralized by forces and events that you yourself cannot see.
  • It is much more effective to reward good behavior than to punish bad behavior.

Here is the table of contents:

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

CHAPTER 1: How to Recognize the Advantages of a Career in Education

Lessons: Welcome to the Profession; The Teacher’s Role; The Teacher’s Motivation

CHAPTER 2: How to Conduct Your Job Search

Lessons: Mobility; Applying; Documents; Preparing for Your Interview; Your Demeanor during the Interview; Responding to Difficult Interview Questions; Should You Accept a Substitute Position?

CHAPTER 3: You Won a Teaching Position! Now What?

Lessons: Learn Everything You Can; Union Issues; Physical Setting of the Classroom; When You Need Help with Supplies or Equipment

CHAPTER 4: How to Plan Your Lessons and Keep Records

Lessons: Curriculum; Character Education; Lesson Plans; Substitute Plans; Setting Up Your Gradebook; Communication; Turnaround Time and Diligence

CHAPTER 5: How to Start the School Year

Lessons: Greet Your Students; Cultivate Respect; Punctuality and Behavior; Availability; Classroom Rules; Your Approach to the Rules; Structure; Student Safety and Drills; Stop Bullying Before It Starts

CHAPTER 6: How to Present Your Material Effectively

Lessons: Inspiration; Keep Their Minds Working; Make It Relatable; Talent; Time on Task; How to Conduct a Discussion; Balance of Levels of Thinking and Learning; Balance of Presentation; Group Projects; Public Speaking; ESE; ELL; Exchange Students

CHAPTER 7: How to Assess Student Progress

Lessons: Use a Variety of Assessments; Scoring; Portfolio Assessment; Standardized Tests from Your District and State; Some Things are More Important than School

CHAPTER 8: How to Keep Order

Lessons: Motivation; Your Voice; Be Proactive Instead of Reactive; Authority; Sincerity; Planning and Pacing; Never Give an Ultimatum; Selective Enforcement; What to Do in the Event of Violence

CHAPTER 9: How to Overcome Favoritism

Lessons: Empathy; Inclusion; Appreciation; Your Past Comes Back

CHAPTER 10: How to Utilize Instructional Technology

Lessons: Multimedia Presentations; Web Page; Avoid Potential Problems with Technology

CHAPTER 11: How to Handle Your Colleagues

Lessons: Good-Natured Professionalism; Professional Courtesy

CHAPTER 12: How to Handle Your Administrators

Lessons: Meetings; Inservice Days; Assigned Tasks; More Good-Natured Professionalism; Annual Professional Performance Review; Disagreements

CHAPTER 13: How to Handle Parents, the Community, and Public Relations

Lessons: Goodwill; Helicopter Parents; Field Trips; Enthusiasm; Complaining; Mandated Reporter

CHAPTER 14: How to Handle Extra-Curricular Activities and Graduate Work

Lessons: How Many Extra-Curricular Activities Can You Handle?; How Much Graduate Work Can You Handle?

CHAPTER 15: How to Overcome Negativity, Avoid Burnout, and Adapt to the Future

Lessons: Shared Unhappiness Builds More of It; Student Reference Letters; Review Your Procedures; Learn from Your Students; New Courses; Cross-Curricular Collaboration; New Ideas; Forgive Yourself and Others

Author’s Notes

Appendix A: Suggested Review Activities

Appendix B: Quick Reference


This is my official biography with the publisher:

Jeff Julian has been a full-time teacher in western New York State for 32 years. He has spent the last 28 of those at his current school, with the last 27 as the head of his social-studies department. Mr. Julian's bachelor's degree is in English and history, and his master's is in English, all from the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has permanent certification for both English and social studies, and has taught a wide variety of courses in those subjects from grades 7-12, including honors-level and college-credit courses. Mr. Julian has mentored new teachers in his department, wrote and implemented new curriculum for the state, made presentations to prospective teachers, and held training sessions for faculty members in effective instructional techniques. In addition to teaching full time, Mr. Julian serves as an adjunct instructor of public speaking in a college communications department. He enjoys spending time with his family and playing in his band, The Untouchables.

Here are some reviews by colleagues in the profession:

As a veteran teacher, I believe the wisdom shared in this book is a valuable resource for instructors at all stages of their professional development. (Michele Bain, High-School Mathematics Teacher, New Teacher Mentor)

Watching Jeff's passion he takes to the classroom it is evident that he captures and exemplifies the art of engaging and successful learning. He sets the hook like a master fisherman and the students are unable to help but engage. All new interns and teachers would benefit from Jeff's expertise and passion. (Peter Pannes, Physical-Education Teacher; Coach; Teaching Intern Supervisor)

Through decades of experience, which have seen educational fads come and go, Mr. Julian reminds us of the one constant in education through his book: teachers are most effective when they have a positive relationship with their students. This is not an instructional guide to a specific curriculum; instead, Mr. Julian’s book will help new teachers focus on what really matters; making students want to be in your classroom. (Matthew J. Hewitt, High-School English Teacher; College English Instructor; Teaching Intern Supervisor)

Over the decades, Jeff Julian has built positive, enduring relationships with countless students; often, these pivotal connections with upstanding role models provide our students with the most beneficial experiences of their education. In his book, Julian shares his wealth of insights so that new teachers may also leave such lasting footprints in their own students' lives. (Jennifer Wojcinski, Middle/High-School English Teacher; Department Chair; Teaching Intern Supervisor)


Dunkirk native publishes book for new teachers

Dunkirk Observer

PAGE ONE

JUN 9, 2019

MARY HEYL

mheyl@observertoday.com

Jeff Julian has been teaching in Chautauqua County for more than 30 years. Currently, he teaches social studies and serves as department chair at Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School.

BEMUS POINT — According to recent data from New York State United Teachers, a state-wide union with nearly 300,000 members, New York will experience a teacher shortage in the near future, and many parts of the state have already experienced this shortage. Reasons for the shortage range from retirements to increases in Pre-K through 12 enrollment, and fewer individuals are entering the teaching profession than ever before. However, to Dunkirk native Jeff Julian, there has never been a better time to enter the profession, and he has recently published a book that guides new and prospective teachers at the start of their career.

While there’s no better teacher than experience, Julian, a social studies teacher at Maple Grove Central School, offers new teachers the next best thing: practical advice and wisdom based on his 32 years of teaching experience. “Classroom Advice for New Teachers: a Proactive Approach for Meeting the Daily Challenges of the Profession” is Julian’s new book that offers new teachers a proactive approach to many aspects of the profession, from deciding to become a teacher, to applying, interviewing, setting up a classroom, designing curriculum and interacting with students and colleagues, all the way to avoiding “late-career burnout.” The book is available for pre-order from now until July 12, when it will be officially released to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Julian’s first published book, the idea came to him when he was speaking to a group of college students at his alma mater, SUNY Fredonia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and dual certification in grades 7-12 English and History, and his master’s degree in English in 1991. “I noticed how eager they were to hear advice about the daily challenges of teaching, as well as to hear a positive, optimistic view of the profession,” Julian told the OBSERVER. “I began writing the book about five years ago, and based it on my experiences and my own philosophy. My son Brian, who teaches high school science, encouraged me to keep writing and to search for a publisher, and I dedicated the book to him.”

After Julian completed several chapters of the book, he researched how to write a non-fiction book proposal to gain the interest of a reputable publisher or agent. Uninterested in self publishing or “vanity publishers,” Julian wrote a persuasive and detailed proposal, which included market research to support his case for why his book should be published. “I knew that my chances were about the same as winning the lottery, but again with the encouragement from Brian, I sent my proposal, table of contents and sample chapters to as many reputable publishers as I could find,” Julian explained. “When Rowman & Littlefield, a prestigious publisher of college textbooks and professional books, indicated an interest in my idea, I couldn’t believe my good fortune.”

The company soon offered Julian a contract and gave him a deadline to complete his book, which involved many revisions. “When I read through the completed manuscript, I felt satisfied that I had reflected my experiences and philosophy, and that my book can help teachers overcome challenges in a positive way,” he said.

Neither a dry textbook nor a teacher’s autobiography, Julian’s book is the ideal balance of practical advice and real-life scenarios that can leave new teachers in a quandary. Chapter topics include “How to Conduct Your Job Search,” “You won a Teaching Position! Now What?”, “How to Start the School Year,” “How to Overcome Favoritism,” “How to Utilize Instructional Technology,”“How to Handle Your Colleagues,” and “How to Handle Parents, the Community, and Public Relations,” among others.

Each chapter includes practical lessons and “In Practice” scenarios, in which Julian presents readers with a scenario and multiple responses. For example, in his chapter on setting and enforcing rules, Julian writes, “You are a new teacher chaperoning a group of 12th-grade students on a field trip with a colleague who has been teaching for over thirty years. During the long bus ride home, two female students approach you and ask to stop the bus at the nearest service station so that they can visit a restroom. The veteran teacher overhears and angrily rejects their request, accusing them of the ulterior motive of wanting to smoke a cigarette. They turn again to you, and implore you to grant their request, telling you that it is an emergency. What do you do?”

Not only does this scenario address rule setting, but it also demonstrates how situations overlap; in this case, the scenario involves relationships with colleagues, too. In his response, Julian weighs the difficulty of judging an individual’s reasons for needing a restroom against the authority of an experienced colleague. Ultimately, Julian explains that an appropriate response is to confer privately with the veteran teacher and speak honestly and respectfully about one’s feelings — that denying a student’s request to use the restroom could be worse than the possible consequences of trusting the student. This conversation respects the opinion and experience of the older teacher, while also respecting students’ needs.

This and many other scenarios are explained in detail throughout the book, which is born of Julian’s many years of teaching experience. While a student at SUNY Fredonia, Julian completed his student teaching at Fredonia High School with Joseph Calarco, who continues to influence Julian’s teaching. After graduation, he taught English for two years at Ripley High School and then spent two years at Chautauqua High School as a social studies teacher. For the past 28 years, he has taught social studies at Maple Grove, where he has also served as social studies department chair for the past 27 years. Julian has also been teaching public speaking in the evening at Jamestown Community College’s north county campus for the past five years.

While some enter the profession based on a childhood dream of becoming a teacher, Julian was inspired by one of his professors at SUNY Fredonia. “I made the decision to become a teacher during a college assignment in which I had to lead the class in a discussion about the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who happened to still be in office at the time,” Julian explained. “The thrill of leading an exchange of ideas, combined with the encouragement of my professor, Dr. Joseph Gallagher, convinced me to change my major from Engineering to History and English Education.”

Julian was further inspired by his grandmother, Adele Kuzara, who had great respect for the teaching profession and hoped to live to see her grandson reach his goal — which he did, with 22 years to spare.

“When I entered the profession, my hope was to spend my days discussing complex historical issues and high-level literature,” Julian recalled. “I very quickly learned that the essence of teaching is, at its core, the bond that is created between the teacher and each individual student.”

For Julian, creating this bond is his ultimate goal in every class, with every student. “The impression you make on your students by handling adversity with strength, treating others with empathy and respect, and generally conducting your life with integrity, will remain with them forever,” he said. “In fact, decades after they have forgotten the minor irritations we all encounter on a daily basis, and even the details of your subject matter have faded from their memories, they will still remember the example of your decency and good character.”

One of the challenges Julian encountered in writing the book, besides landing a publishing contract, was continually putting himself in the mindset of a brand new teacher. His advice is realistic, and although it does not paint a perfect picture of the profession, it is quite encouraging. “I tell new teachers what I wish someone had told me: Everything is going to be all right,” he explained. “You’re going to make mistakes and have errors in judgment, and sometimes those actions might cause problems for others. It’s important to maintain humility, admit your mistakes, do your best to make restitution, and learn from the experience.”

Julian goes on to add a humbling caveat: “Then, you have to forgive others who have done the same to you.”

Like any career, teaching has its share of critics, and Julian is no stranger to them. “Like any other issue, it’s important to view it from every perspective,” he pointed out. “Some of those detractors have had difficult encounters with teachers, and also might be having negative experiences with their own career choices…My suggestion is to show sincere gratitude and humility: gratitude for the advantages of the profession, and humility for the honor of playing such an important role in the lives of your students.”

As Julian nears the end of his career, he is looking forward to speaking to new and prospective teachers, and he hopes his book will encourage them on their journey. Julian is grateful for all who have supported him in his career, including his parents, Phil and Audrey Julian; his son, Brian; his daughter, Laura DuBois; and his sister, Michele Bain, a high school math teacher.

He is also grateful to his supportive colleagues, administrators, community members, students and their families over the years. “How can I repay a debt so large?” Julian reflected. “Possibly by encouraging good people to see the advantages of choosing education as a career, and helping ensure a positive future for the profession. It’s true that job opportunities in many walks of life offer their own advantages. However, if you can offer knowledge, skills, comfort, inspiration, and make a student feel welcome in your classroom when he or she many not feel welcome anywhere else, I would consider that to be a life and career well spent. I’m proud to be a part of this profession.”

For more information about Julian and his book, visit his website at www.jeffjulianauthor.gq.



Dunkirk Native Publishes Book For New Teachers

Jamestown Post-Journal

LOCAL NEWS

JUN 23, 2019

MARY HEYL

BEMUS POINT — Jeff Julian said it is a perfect time to enter the teaching profession.

According to recent data from New York State United Teachers, a state-wide union with nearly 300,000 members, New York state will experience a teacher shortage in the near future, and many parts of the state have already experienced this shortage.

Reasons for the shortage range from retirements to increases in Pre-K through grade 12 enrollment, and fewer individuals are entering the teaching profession than ever before. Julian, a Dunkirk native, has recently published a book, “Classroom Advice for New Teachers: a Proactive Approach for Meeting the Daily Challenges of the Profession” that guides new and prospective teachers at the start of their career.

Julian, a social studies teacher at Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School, offers new teachers practical advice based on his 32 years of teaching experience. The book that offers new teachers a proactive approach to many aspects of the profession, from deciding to become a teacher, to applying, interviewing, setting up a classroom, designing curriculum and interacting with students and colleagues, all the way to avoiding “late-career burnout.”

The book idea came to him when he was speaking to a group of college students at his alma mater, SUNY Fredonia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and dual certification in grades 7-12 English and history, and his master’s degree in English in 1991. “I noticed how eager they were to hear advice about the daily challenges of teaching, as well as to hear a positive, optimistic view of the profession,” Julian said. “I began writing the book about five years ago, and based it on my experiences and my own philosophy. My son Brian, who teaches high school science, encouraged me to keep writing and to search for a publisher, and I dedicated the book to him.”

After Julian completed several chapters of the book, he researched how to write a non-fiction book proposal to gain the interest of a reputable publisher or agent.

Uninterested in self publishing or “vanity publishers,” Julian wrote a detailed proposal, which included market research to support his case for why his book should be published. “When Rowman & Littlefield, a prestigious publisher of college textbooks and professional books, indicated an interest in my idea, I couldn’t believe my good fortune.”

The company soon offered Julian a contract and gave him a deadline to complete his book, which involved many revisions. Neither a textbook nor a teacher’s autobiography, his book is the balance of practical advice and real-life scenarios that can leave new teachers in a quandary.

Chapter topics include “How to Conduct Your Job Search,” “You won a Teaching Position! Now What?”, “How to Start the School Year,” “How to Overcome Favoritism,” “How to Utilize Instructional Technology,” “How to Handle Your Colleagues,” and “How to Handle Parents, the Community, and Public Relations,” among others.

Each chapter includes practical lessons and “in practice” scenarios, in which Julian presents readers with a scenario and multiple responses.

The scenarios are explained in detail, which were gleaned from Julian’s teaching experience. While a student at SUNY Fredonia, Julian completed his student teaching at Fredonia High School with Joseph Calarco, who continues to influence Julian’s teaching. After graduation, he taught English for two years at Ripley High School and then spent two years at Chautauqua High School as a social studies teacher. For the past 28 years, he has taught social studies at Maple Grove, where he has also served as social studies department chairman for the past 27 years. Julian has also been teaching public speaking in the evening at Jamestown Community College’s north county campus for the past five years.

While some enter the profession based on a childhood dream of becoming a teacher, Julian was inspired by one of his professors at SUNY Fredonia. “The thrill of leading an exchange of ideas, combined with the encouragement of my professor, Dr. Joseph Gallagher, convinced me to change my major from Engineering to History and English Education.”

Julian was further inspired by his grandmother, Adele Kuzara, who had great respect for the teaching profession and hoped to live to see her grandson reach his goal — which he did, with 22 years to spare.

“When I entered the profession, my hope was to spend my days discussing complex historical issues and high-level literature,” Julian recalled.

For Julian, creating a bond is his ultimate goal in every class, with every student. “The impression you make on your students by handling adversity with strength, treating others with empathy and respect, and generally conducting your life with integrity, will remain with them forever,” he said.

One of the challenges Julian encountered in writing the book, was continually putting himself in the mindset of a brand new teacher. His advice does not paint a perfect picture of the profession, but it is encouraging. “I tell new teachers what I wish someone had told me: Everything is going to be all right,” he explained. “You’re going to make mistakes and have errors in judgment, and sometimes those actions might cause problems for others. It’s important to maintain humility, admit your mistakes, do your best to make restitution, and learn from the experience.”

Julian is no stranger to criticism. “Like any other issue, it’s important to view it from every perspective,” he pointed out. “Some of those detractors have had difficult encounters with teachers, and also might be having negative experiences with their own career choices … My suggestion is to show sincere gratitude and humility: gratitude for the advantages of the profession, and humility for the honor of playing such an important role in the lives of your students.”

As Julian nears the end of his career, he is looking forward to speaking to new and prospective teachers, and he hopes his book will encourage them on their journey. Julian is grateful for all who have supported him in his career. For more information about Julian and his book, visit his website at jeffjulianauthor.gq.