Category Archives: Ask a Mentor

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Surviving the Long Haul

I hope 20 years from now I can still get excited about being a part of kids’ lives. I am looking for suggestions on how to enjoy teaching for a long time. — J., Missouri One of the best compliments I ever received was in my last year of teaching: “I walked past your classroom […]

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[Sad Trombone]

Have you ever been challenged by student teachers and the methods they bring to the classroom that differed from yours? Have students ever favored your student teacher over you? How did you react?  — R., Ohio   On a few occasions I did learn some new activities or labs which I would gladly discuss with […]

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Helping traumatised students

I am currently reading a book about childhood trauma in the classroom. How do we as teachers help students who have had a traumatic experience? — A., Iowa I discovered the biggest hole in my teacher preparation when, after 25 years of teaching, a tragedy outside of school deeply affected students in my classroom. I had […]

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Cheater, cheater…

I consistently see a variety of forms of plagiarism occurring in the classroom. How can I combat this? – O., Ohio In real life, group projects do not require individual final products from each team member. So, you could deter cheating on group projects by accepting one work product from each group. Employ a jigsaw […]

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Barring Reception

I am struggling with the students being on their cell phones. I was hoping that I could get some advice or tips to handle the situation. – E., Ohio In my 27-year career, the worst incident I ever had with a student was over a phone. I didn’t confiscate or park phones like some teachers […]

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Old Tech for New Times

It seems the same students answer my questions and I wonder if they are answering so fast that maybe the other students just need a little more time to think. Any suggestions on how to not deter these types of students from answering while allowing other students to get involved too? – O., Ohio In […]

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What makes you believe a student teacher is going to make an excellent teacher one day? – J., Ohio I looked for several things in student teachers to indicate they were on the right track: Cared about their students. First and foremost, remember that you are teaching children and young adults. Be caring and flexible. […]

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This student is too loud. This student is too quiet. This student is…

I have a few students who chatter excessively and need advice on methods that have worked to quiet the disruption. I also need to involve students who are reluctant to participate in a group setting. —H., Arizona I like a chatty, active classroom— provided the students are on task. I would give students opportunities to […]

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I understand that confidence comes with experience, but I was wondering if you have any tricks or tips that helped you become more confident as a teacher? – J., Ohio To calm my own nerves, I would remind myself: No one expects perfection. Just be reflective of your lessons and interactions with students. I was […]

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Tackling Misconceptions and Personal Beliefs

How do you overcome misconceptions that many students will have coming into your classrooms? What is the best way to handle and approach situations when personal beliefs are involved? — M., Arkansas   Misconceptions abound in almost every topic we could study in science! To help anticipate some common misconceptions search NSTA’s The Learning Center and […]

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