Learn 3 high leverage ideas and techniques to thrive in your first (or fifteenth) year of teaching.

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From the course by Match Teacher Residency

Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching: 3 Key Ideas & High Leverage Techniques

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Match Teacher Residency

98 ratings

Learn 3 high leverage ideas and techniques to thrive in your first (or fifteenth) year of teaching.

From the lesson

Teaching and Learning: Key Beliefs

Lectures during the first week will introduce students to the Match Teacher Residency’s key beliefs around teaching and learning. Week 1 will discuss the dynamics of classroom learning as well as the complexly layered decisions that teachers make during every period of instruction. Students will be asked to complete a quiz covering lecture material as well as a quiz on a short supplemental reading. We recommend approaching the material by first watching the lecture videos and then doing the associated reading. Afterwards, the quiz is a summative assessment that allows you to demonstrate mastery of the Week 1 material.

- Mr. Orin GutlernerDirector, Match Teacher Residency

We at the Math Teacher Residency Program love metaphors. We love thinking and speaking in metaphors and we have two for you today. In, one involves a neuroscientist, the other involves an economist, and they both relate to rookie teachers. In fact, we think it's the premise for a great joke. It goes something like this.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a punch line to our joke, but you can help us out with that. If you click over into the discussion forums you'll see a thread where you can submit a punchline to our joke, a neuroscientist, an economist, and a rookie teacher walk into a bar.

So lets recap our vision for what you want your classroom to look like. Kids are on task, they're working hard, you're teaching interesting, relevant material. They're gaining the skills they need, and if students to get off task for a second you're able to bring them back into the lesson pretty quickly.

Okay. Time for some teachanomics. This is our economics metaphor for today. That vision that we just described? Well we think of it as being made up of a few different variables. And we've tried to capture those variables into a formula. Now this is not a rigorously scientific formula that's been well studied and researched, but we do think it will help you organize the big ideas about teaching and learning. Here it is.

Classroom learning. That's the total amount of learning that takes place everyday in your classroom. Is equal to lesson quality, the quality of your lesson, times the sum of student effort, times 1 minus the misbehavior tax. Clearly this is going to take a bit of explanation. We'll start over on the right side of the formula with the misbehavior tax.

Okay. We know we're hitting the economics metaphor pretty hard here, but stick with us. By misbehavior tax, we don't mean a tax on your patience or your emotions. We mean a tax on the total amount of learning that's taking place in your classroom. So things like students talking over the teacher or having side conversations with their neighbors or staring out of a window and not getting to work quickly or wandering around the classroom. All of those things tax the amount of learning that can happen in your classroom. In fact, we think many rookie teachers classrooms resemble the game of whack-a-mole. Maybe you've seen this game at a carnival or a fair. It's the one where you have a mallet and those little moles pop up and you whack one of them, and the second you whack one, the next one pops up. You whack that one, and they pop up again. Well that's what it feels like sometimes, to be a rookie teacher. You feel like you've spent all day just waiting for moles and whacking them, and haven't really focused at all on actually teaching anyone anything.

It makes sense then, that some rookie teachers start to ignore the moles, but there's a problem with that. Ignoring those small moles can sometimes breed bigger, nastier moles. It's what sociologists call the broken windows theory. It's an idea that they apply to analyzing crime in a particular neighborhood. The idea is that by ignoring low-level crime, like graffiti or litter in the streets, you breed a perception of chaos which makes some people think it's okay to commit bigger crimes.

In some rookie teacher classrooms, up to 30% of their time is actually lost to the misbehavior tax. That's 30% every day. Think about that spread over the entire year. That's a ton of lost learning time. Some people believe that the best way to reduce the misbehavior tax is to pump up lesson quality. So let's take a look at that variable for a second. It's huge.

Okay. We know legitness is not a word, but we like it, so stick with us. By lesson tightness, we mean the overall orchestration of the lesson. How are you facilitating transition between activities? Are you using the time purposely? Is everything come off with a tight orchestration?

By lesson legitness, we mean rigor and accessibility. And this is huge. It encompasses all sorts of concepts. Everything from cultural relevance, learning modalities, differentiating your curriculum to meet all learner's needs, picking the right standards, and skills that are going to get kids ready for college. It's just a massive area of growth for most teachers. It's the kind of thing that we think teachers should spend their entire careers geeking out on. And look, at some level, maybe all nerds are not great teachers, but all great teachers are nerds.

Much more on lesson legitness later. Now let's go to our last variable. The sum of student effort. This little E looking thing here just means sum.

So why do we talk this as the sum of student effort? Let's imagine that you have a class of 30 students. We would predict that five of them are highly invested in what you are doing. They're going to come in every day and work really hard and put in great thought, no matter what the task is, no matter what content you're teaching, and no matter what energy level you're bringing to the lesson. Those are your invested students.

Then we would imagine you probably have five who we might describe as your reluctant learners. These five, it almost doesn't matter what you're teaching, they're not going to be on board right away, they're not going to give you great effort.

One of our core beliefs is that it's your job to get every student working hard. Not just the five who already show up invested and not just the 20 who are in the middle. But it's actually your job to try to flip some of the five reluctant learners as well. And we could give you do, if you can get them working hard, that can have a profound effect on those 20 students in the middle. Those are students who are sort of looking around everyday, wondering what kind of momentum your lesson will have. Wondering how much effort they're going to put in. And if they see some of those reluctant learners working hard, that's going to have an effect on them too, and you're likely to have many more fully invested students. That's why we talk about it as the sum of student effort across your entire class.

Time to put this formula to work. Let's take a teacher. We'll call him Mr. Solid Teacher. He teaches Math.

Lets give him a score of first for lesson quality. He plans pretty solid lessons. They model new material clearly, he gives clear explanations. Students get a lot of practice and feedback. They're not the most creative lessons in the world, but they're, they're strong, they're solid. We're going to give him an 8 out of 10 for lesson quality.

Now lets go to student effort. Mr. Solid Teacher, he has good relationships with his students. They generally work pretty hard with him. Maybe not as hard as they could, so we'll say he gets a 7 out of 10 for student effort.

Students are really focused in his class, they are engaged, they are practicing when they're supposed to practice. They're not getting up, moving around. He actually only pays a 5% misbehavior tax penalty. So we're going to give him a 0.95 in that category. So, if we put those numbers together, 8 times 7 times 0.95. Mr. Solid generates 53 units of learning in any given lesson.

That's really strong, students are learning a lot. He keeps doing that across the whole year, his students are really going to grow under his leadership.

Okay, lets take another teacher. We'll call Miss Typical McRookie Teacher. She's also a math teacher, and she actually uses Mr. Solid Teacher's lesson plans, she rehearses them, she knows the plan really well. So she also scores 8 out of 10 on lesson quality.

Now, she also has pretty good relationships with her kids and when they're working. That's key now. When they're working they put forward pretty strong effort. And so just like Mr. Solid Teacher, Miss Typical McRookie gets a 7 out of 10 for that variable.

But now when we go to the misbehavior tax. Well, Miss McRookie is spending a ton of time dealing with misbehavior. She's paying a 30% penalty each day because she's playing so much whack-a-mole. So we're going to give her a 0.7 in that category. If you crunch those numbers, 8 times 7 times 0.7. She only generates 39 units of classroom learning.

That's actually a really big difference. It's a 25% difference. That means if that's typical of what takes place everyday in Miss McRookie's class, her students are going to learn 25% less than Mr. Solid's students across the entire year. That's a lot less learning in that classroom.

Okay. Enough number crunching for today. We're done with our economics metaphor. When you're done here, you can click over into our forum, where you can discuss how our learning formula applies to your own teaching practice. In our next video, we hit our next metaphor and we talk about what happens inside the teacher brain. What's happening with you when you deliver a lesson? See you there. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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