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The Best Advice Ever...

Dragonflies in First is having a super cool linky party about the best advice you ever received as a teacher. 

I can honestly say that this is a job where I'm constantly learning.  So many other teachers have AWESOME ideas that make me a better teacher.  I'm excited to hear what other people have to give for their best advice.

The best advice I ever received was to think about when to pick your battles, especially with those behavior problem students.  Of course, you need to be consistent with your behavior plan.  But sometimes the key is knowing when it's important to fight the battle and when to put it aside until a later time.

One of my current students can be very noncompliant, specifically with writing assignments.  If the work is starting to become a battle and he's getting more and more noncompliant, I have 2 choices.  I can force the issue and let the battle escalate while the other students keep working.  This isn't really win-win for anyone.  

Or I can I say ok we're done with this task for right now.  Sometimes the other kids aren't done (but I consider it a free pass for them since they were working) and I stop the task anyway.  I tell the student that we'll finish the assignment later.  The key is he doesn't get out of the work, but it just goes away for the moment.  I switch gears to another activity (hopefully something he'll want to participate in) and drop the battle.

Then when there's something that I know he wants to participate in (like recess, centers, something else fun) I bring back the unfinished work.  I let him know the work must be done before XYZ can be earned.  It's amazing how much more motivated he is when there's something he desired right in front of him!

Some things just aren't worth the battle.  If a kid is going to fight you over washing his dirty face (or some other trivial thing), let him have a dirty face.  My goal every day is to get as much academic work and instruction in as possible, which means being consistent and not letting problems escalate if possible.

What's the best advice you ever heard?


  1. This is going to age me! There used to be a Midas filter commercial on TV where the shop owner told the customer (to encourage him to buy the filter) "You can pay me now or pay me later!" meaning if the car wasn't looked after there would be repairs.
    My University facilitator (who came to observe me when I was student teaching) used that line on me when it came to lesson planning. He said that I could put in the time and have a solid lesson plan, knowing what the objectives were, how I was going to engage the students and knowing how I was going to assess their progress, or I could pay for it later, when my class was out of control, as I fumbled around, not knowing where I wanted to go next.
    Thirty two years later, I write detailed lesson plans each and every day. It's a lot easier now because of technology, but I feel 'out of sorts' if that paper isn't on my desk to refer to.
    Great advice!

    1. Great advice, Sherry! You are so right about being prepared and I'm the worst procrastinator! That's something I really need to improve.


  2. Your best advice is definitely a great one! I truly think that picking your battles in the EC world is so important to continue to love your job... Sometimes is just isn't worth it!

    The best advice I have received is to always give kids two options, but to make sure that YOU like both of the options. For example, you wouldn't want to say to a kid, "if you do your math homework, you can go outside to recess! But if you don't do your math homework, then you have to miss recess and stay in the classroom with me and do your homework!" It may be just me, but I definitely don't want students in the room during recess time because that's valuable work time! I have caught myself giving options with one being one I'm not a fan of... And it's always better when I catch myself! Remember- give 2 options to kids so they're making the decision, but try to make the choices not make your life harder.

    1. Kimberly - That's so true! Forced options that the teacher can live with either option is a good strategy. I don't like for my kids to miss recess either (for a lot of reasons) but it has been helpful to get my point across that the work must be done. LOL.


  3. Love your advice, Angelia! So true... pick your battles or you'll be picking your patience up off the floor! :D
    Thanks for linking up!
    ❤DragonfliesinFirst ❤

  4. Hmmm... some of the best advice I've received is that growth solves everything. And along the same lines, there is no problem that sustained thought can't overcome. They were not given as educaitonal advice, but I try to apply them in every aspect including my school life ;) Thanksf ro stopping by today.

  5. It takes a long time to learn as a teacher that it's OK to pick your battles. Thanks for blogging about this and other special education topics! Will you follow our blog?

  6. This such great advice and something I am constantly thinking about this year! I have a few students with behavior plans and I've learned you can't work on every behavior at every moment of every day. You need to pick and choose when it will be worth the battle and be meaningful for the student. Thanks so much for sharing! It's definitely something I need to remember some days! lol

    The Resource Room Teacher