Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Feeling stressed






I’m a first-year middle school life science teacher. After a few weeks, I am really stressed with all of the planning and paperwork. Any resources or words of encouragement? —L., New York Welcome to science teaching! Every teacher has gone through what you’re experiencing, even if they had a great student teaching experience. Fortunately, there […]

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Ideas for a new mentor teacher






My principal asked me to be a mentor for a new science teacher. I received a checklist of high school policies to review, but how can I help him in other ways? – T., New Jersey In my experience, a good mentor can be a role model, a good listener, a source of suggestions and […]

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Surveying student perceptions






I want to study my middle school students’ perceptions of what and how they are learning in science. Do you have any suggestions other than a traditional survey? —R., Ohio I found some research on the topic at Drawn to Science: Studying Science Teaching and Learning Through Drawings.  The authors examined “how the science teaching […]

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Connecting with your students






I meet with more than 100 students per day in my Earth science classes. As a relatively new teacher, I need suggestions on how to get to know them better including learning their names and interests in a timely manner. – L., Connecticut Students like to know teachers care about and respect them. Knowing their […]

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Prepping an empty classroom






I just took a fifth-grade position, and the principal showed me the classroom I’ll have. It’s a brand-new building, and there’s nothing in the classroom—just the student tables, bare bulletin boards, a few empty bookshelves, and a teacher desk. When I was student teaching, the classrooms had lots of interesting bulletin boards and centers, but […]

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Changing schools






I’m moving to a different state to take a teaching position. I don’t know anyone there, so where can I look for guidance on state standards and other resources that would be helpful in my new job? —W., Pennsylvania Congratulations on finding a job! I hope you will have a mentor and meet other colleagues […]

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Changing grade levels

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Next year there will be an opening in the high school science department. Although I love teaching middle school, I’m tempted by the opportunity to try something different and use more of what I majored in (chemistry). What advantages and disadvantages should I consider?—C., New Jersey Taking on new subjects or grade levels can be […]

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Managing Communication Channels

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Last year, I tried improving my communications with students and parents via electronic media. I had lots of responses, but I was being texted, tweeted, emailed, and called on the phone at all times of the day and night. While I want to encourage these communications, I’m looking for ideas to manage them and keep […]

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Teaching more than one subject






I’m a recent graduate. A school district where I would really like to teach has an opening for a secondary science teacher. But when I read the job description, the position requires teaching five classes of two different subjects (general biology and an environmental science elective). During student teaching, I just taught biology. Is it […]

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DIY Your Science PD






As a K-12 science department chair, I’m looking for professional development (PD) opportunities for our teachers. It’s hard to find speakers and programs for a small group. We have a very small budget, so traveling for conferences is not an option, either. Are you familiar with other options? —K., Minnesota Continuing education is an important […]

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