Advice on the fly: Slice of Life #5

Advice on the fly: Slice of Life #5

Recently we had a new teacher start with us two days a week. He is working in a class that has had a lot of change this year. It’s tough for everyone. Half way through his first day, I got a chance to check in with him just before lunch ended. After hearing a little bit about his day and answering some questions, I had basically 2 minutes to offer a little advice.

Quick advice has to be extra meaningful. Sparse words. Limited time. Lots to convey. Must be memorable. What to include and what to leave out would take me hours to decide on if asked to write a post on what advice I would give to someone in two minutes. But on the spot, you have only two minutes to fill exactly two minutes and that’s all delivery time. Don’t waste it thinking!

What did I say?

It went something like this:

  1. Think in 7 minute increments. Don’t get anxious about thinking about the whole afternoon. Think about the next seven minutes. 7 minutes at a time. And it all becomes doable.
  2. Take full credit for everything that goes well. The stuff that doesn’t? Don’t take it personally and don’t feel wholly responsible. There are a lot of reasons things happen. You are one small piece of it. Unless, it goes really well. Then, clearly, all you.
  3. Like the kids. Make it really obvious that you do. Smile at them. Notice interesting things. Give them sincere compliments. Be kind.
  4. Give students voice. Find ways for them to feel like they have some ownership, like they are directing a bit of the day, that what they think actually matters. It can be really simple – simply ask if they liked something. Talk about why.
  5. Come back.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

24 thoughts on “Advice on the fly: Slice of Life #5

  1. Wow! Those are some powerful pieces of advice! I love each and every one – and especially #3 and #5. I am positive that this new teacher appreciated all 5 gems. Most of all – he appreciated the time you took to care for him on that day. Very nice.

  2. These tips are also reminders for experienced teachers. We all need them- #2 is really helpful.
    Giving the new teacher tips in itself reassures him that he can seek your advice when he needs to.

  3. Letting the kids know that you like them and giving them choice are huge and things that aren’t often mentioned so early when management of plans and time are often focused on. Great advice! Now I want to know what all you left out (or what you will give the next time you have two minutes and can give “Installment Two”).

  4. I love your set up here. Advice before giving advice on how to give advice and then advice. Lots of gems and wisdom here. I’m totally taking this advice and giving it, too.

  5. It is so true that as a coach we have to have some small bites of advice and we are often asked to give said advice in the hall, on the way to the car, at the copy machine. This is advice I will be giving tomorrow, next month, and next year. Thank you.

  6. Great advice. I would add one more:
    Find a friend/colleague you trust. Ask questions. No question is too silly. The questions and answers will save you time in the long run!

  7. LOL! Can we frame your advice for every guest teacher in the universe please??!! What makes it so funny is that it is THE TRUTH. Every comedian knows this: just tell the truth. The best line (for me) is, “Come Back”. Again, the truth.

  8. Wow – I think you could change the world if you had 10 minutes. I will print this and share it widely. I love them all – but take credit when things go well is a big one for all teachers –that never happens. And 5 — well that is one of our biggest problems in education right now. We are losing too many good teachers. Love how you ended it – message, craft and mood all wrapped into one. Lovely

  9. I love number 4! I honestly think that’s the best thing a teacher can do because it builds such an amazing community, adds to their responsibility, and makes every student regardless of academic levels confident!

  10. Great words of wisdom here, Carrie. I was going to say I loved #1, but then I also wanted to say how important liking the kids is. So, I’m saying you picked 5 incredibly important points. I’m sure that new teacher appreciates these small snack sized chunks of knowledge rather than your entire philosophy. 🙂

  11. Your advice is great. I especially am fond of “like the kids and give them voice”. What I would say as a parent and non-formal educator is this: invest in your students. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you. It is simliar to what you told the new teacher you spoke with. From experience, the best teachers boys have had and the ones I’ve looked up to professionally, have done this by their words and actions.

  12. I agree with them all, Carrie. Choice (empowerment) is so important, but if I chose only one, it would be to ensure that the students know you like them. Best wishes to this new colleague!

  13. I love this post! Will definitely be sharing with my student teachers. So often my student teachers struggle in their internships–both because teaching itself is hard and because it’s extra hard to go into another teacher’s classroom and try to teach. I always like to ask them, what needs to happen so that you enjoy this more? They always seem so surprised by the question. Wait, we’re supposed to enjoy this too?!

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