Be an Indispensable Teacher by Sue Vaughn

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Nov 3rd, 2013
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TeacherWhen I started teaching there were NO jobs.  It’s important that you be indispensable, whether you are a novice or seasoned teacher.

  1. Be as highly qualified as you are able. Principals like to be able to say “50% of our staff have master’s degrees” and the like.
  2. Be the teacher who contacts parents – and keep a log of these contacts. Be sure that you contact parents at least as often for things students do well as for when they are doing poorly.
  3. Volunteer for those extras that you do well, and turn down those that you might not do so well. For example, volunteer to be on the discipline committee (because you’re pretty level-headed and you work well in committees) but turn down being a prom chaperone (because you really secretly hate all the music that will be played there).
  4. Once your plate is full, if you are asked to participate on another committee or act as a club advisor (or other) and can’t say “no,” go straight to the principal and say “could you help me decide what to drop?” Be prepared for the principal to make the choice for you.
  5. If you have to attend a meeting anyway, volunteer to be the recorder. This will keep you alert during the meeting, and when you send out the notes your name will be associated with the work. Always “cc” the meeting minutes to the principal.
  6. Be positive. Remember that this is your job and part of your job is to have a positive attitude. My dad, a businessman, said that minimum wage meant that you were, at a minimum, paid to smile.
  7. When there are guests at your school (the superintendent, visiting principals, etc.), let your principal know that your door is always open for observation. You should be teaching an “observable” lesson every day anyway, so show off a little. Prep your students for this!
  8. Avoid getting behind in your grading. This is annoying to everyone – students, parents, administrators – and it’ll give you a headache. Can you schedule one uninterrupted hour per day to grade/record? Try it.
  9. Support the school’s rules. Even if you don’t care whether boys wear hats in class, if the school rule is “no hats,” enforce it. If you undermine your administrator’s authority, everyone gets cranky.
  10. If you find yourself “freaking out” about something, take a personal day and resolve it. Your school is your place of business, and you have no business treating it like a therapy session.

© Sue Vaughn, M.A. | National Board Certified Teacher | www.mrssuevaughn.commrssuevaughn@mac.com

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