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You cannot be a selfish teacher

Are you thinking of becoming a teacher?  Well, then you should know that teaching really is the most noble profession on Earth.  However, you should also know that you should not enter into this profession if you have not given it a lot of consideration before doing so.  Of course, if you are a selfish person, then you should know that teaching is definitely not for you.

So, why is it important to know the aforementioned things?  First of all, if you are good at teaching, then it will be one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding, professions that is in existence today.  Therefore, you really do need to understand that this job is not for everyone.  In fact, this job is ideally suited for only a select few group of individuals.  Unfortunately though, most of the people who do become teachers are not a part of this select group of people.

Secondly, you need to know that teaching is a tiring and oftentimes thankless job.  Regardless of what many people have never been teachers think, teaching is a 24/7 job.  It is not a part-time daytime only job like many teachers would have you to believe.  Of course, you do get to be off for summer vacation, winter break, spring break, holidays, snow days, etc.  However, all of these breaks do not amount to much when you have to teach 5 different groups of children, 5 days a week for between 40 and 50 minutes each period.  All of this time is spent with a class that is full of distracted, hormone-possessed adolescents.  On the other hand, if you are teaching younger children, then you will have to spend between 5 and 6 hours a day with children who are needy, fretful and demanding of your attention.

As you can clearly see, teaching truly requires selfless acts on a daily basis.  Therefore, anyone who is selfish will quickly find that this profession does not match their agenda very well.  This is because teaching demands so much of a person’s time and energy, leaving very little of these precious resources for other things.  Therefore, a person really does need to think carefully before they enter into this profession.  They also need to understand and realize that the effects of burn-out can come very fast and very strong.

Of course, there is a silver lining in all of this: teaching is one of the most gratifying professions around.  Herein you will be able to see the impact of a life-changing effect upon a student; the effects of unconditional love; and even the totally unexpectedly return visit from a long-forgotten student, who may have been trouble at one time is now coming to say thank you for changing their life for the better.  There really is no price or value that can be placed upon such invaluable experiences.

The challenges of teaching math

There are many teachers who have spent many years wondering what to do in order to improve math education.  One thing is certain: students most definitely appreciate a clear, sound explanation of difficult concepts.  Whenever they feel comfortable enough in class to ask questions, they will experience the greatest amount of growth.  Therefore, a math teacher’s first objective should be to create a safe atmosphere for learning.  This should be an atmosphere in which students are encouraged to express themselves freely, as long as it is also respectfully.

Your class’ tone must be set during the first class.  Herein students should know what is expected from them and what can they expect from their teacher.  This experience should be personalized by taking the time to learn the students’ names.

It is also important for you to be the best teacher that you can be.  You will find this to be very rewarding when you receive positive feedback from your students about the quality of your teaching.  As such, you should try to find a way of seeing math concepts that appeals to students so that they will be able to understand such difficult concepts.  Nevertheless, each class is a new challenge and so you may find some things do not work all of the time.  As a teacher you need to be prepared to use your creativity and intuition to adapt to each class so that you can help the students learn.

As a teacher you should be both dynamic and entertaining so that math does not become boring or tedious for your students.  Taking the initiative to show your students new perspectives that they did not think about before and adjusting your techniques to make these things suitable for your students’ specific needs.  You will soon find that every group of students is different and thus they will need different approaches.  As a teacher, flexibility really is the key.

Of course, your students need to be challenged with achievable tasks.  This will help to build their confidence as they stretch beyond their comfort level.  As a teacher, you should encourage your students to do things that they never thought that they could do.  Herein students will find tremendous satisfaction in achieving something that they did not think that they could ever achieve.  Seeing this, as a teacher, can be truly rewarding.  This is actually one of the biggest payoffs of being a teacher.

As you can see, it take a lot of sensitivity and perceptiveness in order to be a math teacher.  You will encounter students who are taking math classes and have no interest in math at all but they are still being required to take it for their major.  You will also find some students that are very frightened about just how hard math can be.  In both of these instances, you as the teacher must show the student that while math can be challenging, it can be done, all it takes is a little discipline, persistence and hard work.

Teaching the age of discovery

Everyone who has been to school has learned about the Age of Discovery.  This is the study of what happened in Europe from the 15th until the 17th centuries.  On the surface, this may seem a dry and daunting task but it does not have to be this way.

One way in which teachers can make this topic exciting is to have your students write a report about the role of coinage during the Age of Discovery.  Here are some of the things that you will learn in doing so:
1.    The Middle Ages in Europe were on the wane as the earliest travelers returned from the Far East with odd and curious spices, which became valued as Europeans learned to liven up their cooking by using them.
2.    The spice trade spurred post-medieval European economies.  While they wanted to trade with the Far East, which is where the spices came from, they had to have money, which was coins.  Therefore a fondness for precious metals, especially silver, grew in Europe that lasts even today.
3.    During this time Europeans had few coins to trade with other than small, silver, hammer struck pennies.  There were many reasons for this shortage of coinage however the desire to trade spurred a need for money.  It also spurred the need for finding new deposits of silver and gold to mine.
4.    The Spanish provided most of the solution for the Europeans.  This happened because the greatest infusion of circulating coin came from 15th century Spanish discoveries in the New World, which was a byproduct of Spain’s search for a shorter trading route to Asia.
5.    The Spanish also found a lot of sunken treasure, including coins.  A lot of people are fascinated with these types of stories.  This is especially true in recent years as technology for undersea archeology and treasure salvage has developed.

Another way of teaching your children about this time period is through the study of pirates.  It was during the age of discovery that countries such as England began to use statues as a tool against piracy.  These early statues included the offenses at Sea act of 1535 and the Piracy act of 1698.  Herein it was stated that piracy was illegal.  These acts also defined what procedure was to be used in Piracy cases.  However, it was still up to customary law to actually define what piracy was and what activities constituted piracy.

Those students who are interested in science may also be interested in studying silver during the age of discovery.  Herein students will find that silver is one of the cheapest precious metals.  However, before the Age of Discovery it traded at one sixth the price of gold whereas today it currently sits at about one fiftieth the price of gold.  This is because it is a soft metal that needs to be alloyed with other metals before being made into jewelery so that it can be made stronger and more resistant.  This is why ‘Sterling Silver’ contains at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper to keep the silver from tarnishing.

Teaching history at home

Most adults have some part of history, or even several defining events or times in history, that played an important part in their childhood.  These times could include John F. Kennedy’s funeral, man’s first step on the moon, the first episode you saw of Saturday Night Live or even hearing Ronald Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech.  Regardless of what it is, these parts of history will remain forever fixed in both your brain and your heart.  Remembering these defining points is the best place to start whenever you are teaching your children about history or social studies.

Children love hearing stories about when they were born.  They will even come right out and ask where they “came from.”  This is something that is important to them.  It is something that is meaningful to them.  It is also something that they can relate to since it is their history.

Another idea is to share those parts of your lives, events and times that are of historical significance with your children as they grow up.  This will teach them how the historical events and times have shaped the world in which they live in today.  After all, your children really are interested in you because you mean a lot to them.  They see you standing right there in front of them, which is able to make the events that you talk about a little more realistic and believable to them. So, by sharing the excitement that you naturally have about those events that you have experienced and have feelings about can help bring those events and historical situations to life in the eyes of your children.

It is also a good idea to take some time to visit the history museum in your area with your child.  Herein not only are you spending quality time with your child but you are also teaching them about history.  By looking at the various displays that are available at the museum, you may even find yourself with more stories to tell.  As aforementioned this is very beneficial because children get to see and hear history through your eyes.  Furthermore, with the items that you are talking about being located right there in front of them, history will come alive for them in ways that it never has before.  Of course, all of this can also create a great bond between you and your child for the 2 of you to enjoy for the remainder of your lifetime together.

So, regardless as to whether your child’s teacher is having them study history by making “All About Me” books out of construction paper or by reading textbooks, sharing a part of yourself and how you have related to some of the special times and events in history that occurred during your own lifetime will help your children to develop an excitement, awareness and appreciation of times that lie beyond their own understanding.  Plus, you will be surprised at just how much fun this can be to do together.

Teaching children english through play

What child do you know that does not like to play?  With this in mind, there is no reason why you should not use this to promote English language learning.  There are lots of different kinds of toys available throughout world that you can use to your advantage in motivating your young learners.  Here are some of the most common toys that you can use:
1.    Stuffed animals and dolls can be used to simulate conversations or even to illustrate prepositions of place and position.
2.    Soft rubber or inflated balls are things that each classroom should have at least 1 of.  These can be used in taking turns wherein after one learner is done answering a question they can then “select” another person by simply tossing the ball to that other person.  This will keep the teacher from “playing favorites” whenever there is an activity.  Plus, a ball can also be used in a relay fashion to signal the next learner in a sequence or game. There is no worry about dropping or mishandling a ball either because it will simply bounce a few times before returning to the game.
3.    Cars, trucks and other vehicles are toys that both boys and girls like and that can be “driven” to places in a neighborhood.  These different parts of the neighborhood can either be located in different parts of the room or at different places on a game board.  This simply depends upon the size of cars that you are using.  Obviously, small vehicles work well as place markers for a board game while larger ones work well as props in dialogs, role plays and conversations.  Of course, these cars can also be used for grammar and verb practice as well.
4.    A small selection of board games, such as just 2 or 3 games, and a little bit of imagination.  Some all-time favorite games include Scrabble, Monopoly, Checkers and even Chess.  (Both Checkers and Chess use the same alternately colored squares board, which makes it easier for you to have both games available to play in your classroom.)  These boards can then be used to create your own games to play too.  Of course, you should not forget to also have a deck or two of Playing Cards available as well.  With these playing cards you can play some quick and easy games such as War, Go Fish or even 21.

It is not a good idea to use “fake” guns, not even water pistols, in the classroom. There should also be nothing such as bats that promote aggressive behavior.  While you can get aggressive behavior from some of the aforementioned toys, this can easily be put down without a lot of trouble simply by explaining to the learners what is and what is not allowed.

Of course, you can probably think of many other toys that can be used for teaching English.  There are sure to be a lot of toys that are available in your area that can be used in your classroom.

Reading Activities Parents Can Use For Their Children

Is your child in the process of learning how to read?  Are you looking for some activities that you can use to help him with this learning process?  Then here are some ideas to help you get started:
1.    Make your child a set of flash cards with the “at” family words.  These words should include flat, chat, brat, spat, splat, drat, bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat and sat all on separate index cards.  This exercise is meant to help increase your child’s reading speed by using words that he already knows. Once you have made all of these flashcards, you will want to spread them out, face down, on the table.  Turn them over one at a time and ask your child to read each word to you.  Then turn them back over and mix them up before having your child read them to you again.
2.    Purchase a set of reading flashcards for your child.  You will want to select some words from the pack that your child has already had some practice with. Your child can then read the word before turning the flashcard over in order to see that he is reading the word correctly as the word’s picture will be on the back of the card.
3.    Encourage your child to take the various flashcards that he has (both the ones that you have made for him as well as the ones that you have bought for him) and read these cards to other friends and family members.  You can also encourage your child to make his own flashcards.  However, you should know that most children will prefer to have an adult write the flashcards for them since adults are able to do a neater job.  If your child wants to make his own flashcards though you should not discourage him as this will help him to have a sense of pride in them.
4.    Create a variety of flashcard games and drills to augment, not replace, the one on one work that you do with your child.
5.    Once your child seems to have a firm grasp upon the “at” words, help him to make bigger “at” words.  This simply means adding more letters to “at,” including blends such as “fl” and “ch.”  You can make this “fun” by presenting this exercise to your child as a challenge that you know that he can accomplish.  Before doing this though, make sure that you have “at” written on one whole index card.  You will then want to cut 3 other index cards in half so that you have 6 halves.  On each of these halves you will want to write 1 of these 6 pairs of letters: fl, ch, br, sp, spl and dr.  This will allow your child to make the words: flat, chat, brat, spat, splat and drat. Once this is done and you are ready to work with your child, put “at” down in front of you and spread the other cards around “at.”  Your child can then choose 1 card, slide it over to the front of “at” and tell you what the new word is.

How to use a tutor

Have you ever wondered when you should see a tutor?  Well, there are lots of times when you can or should see one.  For instance, do you need help with your homework?  Do you need someone to help explain concepts or ideas to you?  Are you in need of study strategies for quizzes and tests?  All of these are great times to see a tutor before you begin to actually fall behind in your classes.

Whenever you do decide to start using a tutor, there are some things that you should take to your tutoring session with you.  These include your textbooks, class notes, past quizzes and tests, your class syllabus, any homework that you have done and if you have any workbook problems or problem sets you should bring them with you as well.  Basically, anything that pertains to the class that you need help with should be taken to your tutoring session.

Regardless as to whether you attend a tutoring service online or at the school where you are taking your classes, there are some things that you should and should not do at a tutoring session.  Some of these things include:
1.    Be sure that you are prepared for the tutoring session.  This means that you will need to take the time become familiar with the material that you are going to be working on.  It is also a good idea to prepare a list of questions to take with you whenever you are being tutored.  You should also try to work through any problems or questions that are in your textbook before your tutoring session.
2.    Whenever you have a question during the tutoring session make sure that you bring it up right away.  There is no point continuing on if you do not understand what you are already working on.
3.    If you happen to have a preferred way of learning, which is otherwise known as a learning style, then you need to be sure that you share this with your tutor right away.
4.    You should never even consider asking your tutor to give you the answers to your homework or to do your homework for you.  It is important to remember that your tutor is there to help you learn how to do the work yourself.  Of course, this is a process.  However, if you are unwilling to do your own homework, then you are not going to be able to learn.
5.    Make sure that you do not wait until the day before or the day of a quiz or test to try to get help.  At this point, help may not be available.  Plus it is also important to remember that learning takes time, effort and planning.

While tutors are very helpful, it is even more helpful to get to know your instructor and their teaching assistant so that you can visit them during their office hours.  They really are your best source of information for your classes.  Plus they will be able to tell you where else you can go on campus to find other resources that will help you with the classes that you are taking.

How to use a tutor to learn english

There are a lot of students who have a tutor to help them when they are studying a language.  If you choose to get a tutor whenever you are trying to learn the English language, there are some things that you should do in order to the most out of your tutoring sessions:
1.    You should try to find someone who is a non-native English speaker so that you can learn the grammar, which can be somewhat difficult at times.  Once you progress in your studies, do your best to try to find a tutor who is a native English speaker.  In this way you will be able to learn the correct pronunciation of words and the appropriate usage of them as well.
2.    If your tutor is going to fast for you, you should not just tell them that they are going too fast for you but make them repeat themselves.  Only then will you be able to figure out what is causing you the difficulties that you are having.  It could be that your tutor is speaking too fast; using too many words that you do not know; that the material is unfamiliar to you; or that your teacher’s accent is confusing you.
3.    If you find that your tutor is not challenging you enough, it is important to let him know.  You are going to want to learn new words and work on them until you master them.  Herein it is a good idea to provide your tutor with lists of words and patterns that you want to work on and information about mistakes that you always make.
4.    Make sure that you are able to tell when your tutor is correcting you so that you can learn how to correct yourself and reinforce any information that you may be struggling with.
5.    Be sure to use English as much as possible.  Insist that your tutor use English, even if they have an excellent command of your native language.  Let your tutor know that whenever he speaks to you in your native language that you feel as though he does not believe that you are capable of using English.
6.    Never allow your tutor to finish your sentence for you.  Maybe you will need to develop 2 signals: 1 for asking for patience and 1 for authorizing the tutor to help you.  After all, you want as little help from your tutor as possible.
7.    In a one-on-one tutoring session, you should make sure to set clear boundaries stating who is really in charge.  Herein it really is important for a tutor to understand that they are there to accommodate your needs as a student.  This is especially true since you are not only paying your tutor with cash but you are also paying him with your valuable time.  As such, your tutor should be more than willing to participate in any of the activities and drills that you propose, even if these things are not structured in the way that the tutor thinks they should be.

How to Teach Your Kids About Money and Taxes

It is never too early to start teaching your children about money.  However, you may be wondering how to go about doing so.  This can then become overwhelming, especially when you look at everything that there is to teach them: earning, saving and spending money; paying taxes; and retirement. You may even wonder whether or not your children will even be able to learn all of this.

As you start to think about this you will certainly begin to find the answers that you need.  One such idea is to give 3 different mason jars to each of your children.  These mason jars are used to represent the different things about money. The first jar should be labeled “spend” as this is jar of money that your children will get to spend on anything that they want.  The second jar should be labeled “charity” and will not be used by everyone.  However, as parents it is still our duty to teach our children about giving money to those who are less fortunate than them so that they can make a difference.  You will not want to tell them right away about the small tax write-off that you can get from charitable contributions on tax returns.  The third jar should be labeled “savings” and should receive 25% (25 cents of every dollar) of the money.  This is a great jar because whenever it is combined with the “spend” jar your children will have the opportunity to purchase the bigger ticket items that you may refuse to purchase for them.  The fourth, and final, jar should be labeled “taxes” and receive the remaining 15% of the money. You can then put this money into the bank for your children to get back whenever they turn 18 and they are heading out into life.  Your children can consider this as their reward for “retiring” from childhood into adulthood.

If you want to teach your children about credit, then you can act as their creditor.  This is for those times when your children want something but do not have enough money between their “spend” and “savings” jars to purchase the item themselves.  You can then purchase the item for them but charge them 1.5% interest.  It is wise to write this down on a note that is attached to your child’s “spend” jar so that they will not forget to pay you back.  Of course, an added benefit to doing this is that your children will not like owing you money and thus they will stop begging for things.

This system will give your children a head start on the notion of living within their means.  You may be surprised to find yourself watching your own spending habits a little closer as well.  If you still do not believe that this method could possibly work for teaching your children the hard facts of life, then give it a try and see for yourself.  In the end, you may just wind up surprising yourself.

How to teach site words

Learning sight words, which are also known as Dolche words, is an important part of learning how to read.  These are words that are not meant to be sounded out. Instead, these words need to be memorized so that a person is able to maintain reading fluency without getting caught up on the words’ meaning.  There are many really fun ways to teach these words to your students, including:
1.    Teach these words by playing Battleship on a grid.
2.    Place the words on the floor then toss a coin and say the word that the coin lands upon.
3.    Sight words can be taught by playing twister.  Simply use chalk to write the letters of the alphabet on a concrete floor.  Have the children place their feet and hands on the letters to spell these words.
4.    You can teach sight words by playing Hangman with the student.
5.    Challenge your student to see just how fast they can find a specific sight word in the reading book that you are using.
6.    Remember that teaching can be fun.  So, have your children go outside and practice writing their words with chalk on the sidewalk.
7.    Children always need to practice their handwriting, so why not teach 2 skills at once?  Have your students practice their handwriting by writing their sight words.  Another thing that you could teach here is alphabetizing by having students place the sight word cards in alphabetical order.
8.    Post the sight words on a wall then use a flashlight to point to words for students to say.
9.    Allow children to make their own scrapbooks using the sight words that they are learning.  A different letter of the alphabet can be used on each page.
10.    If you are teaching sight words to a more advanced group of students, then you can have them tell you what the missing sight word within the sentence is.
11.    If you are teaching sight words to a group of students you could play musical words.  In this game children pass words around in a circle until the music stops.  The person who is holding the word when the music stops has to say the word.  This game can be played with more than 1 word.
12.    If you want to be artistic whenever you are teaching children their sight words, you should know that there are many ways of doing this.  First of all, you can use play dough to make words.  Secondly you can glue strings together to form the words.  Third, you could use either alphabet stamps or stencils to “write” the words on a piece of colored construction paper.
13.    Another artistic way of teaching sight words is by having the child write the word then trace over it 2 or more times with different colors.
14.    Scrabble game pieces are great for doing more than just playing Scrabble. You can also use these, or magnetic letters, for teaching sight words.
15.    You could also play stepping stones by placing words on the floor and having children walk over them saying the sight word as they step upon it.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways that you can make teaching and learning sight words fun.  These are just a few examples.  You can surely think of many more.