New and seasoned teachers think a lot about classroom management. In order for students to be able to engage deeply with the curriculum, the classroom environment must be orderly; the atmosphere must feel business-like and productive, without being authoritarian. In a productive classroom, standards of conduct are clear to students; they know what they are permitted to do and what they can expect of their classmates. Even when their behavior is being corrected, students feel respected; their dignity is not undermined. Skilled teachers regard positive student behavior not as an end in itself, but as a prerequisite to high levels of engagement in content.

The first step towards creating a classroom environment as described above, is to develop meaningful relationships with students. While this may seem obvious, teachers can forget the importance and power of good relationships when faced with challenging behavior.

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Culture Shock, Adjustment and Acceptance at a New School


Before enrolling in UVEI’s Teacher Intern Program, Eric Braun was a higher education administrator and instructor. During his 30-year career, Eric helped hundreds of students earn their college degrees. At age 50, he enrolled in UVEI and completed the requirements for certification in elementary education in June 2016. Eric recently finished his first year of teaching at Bethel Elementary School (Vermont). Below, Eric describes the stages of first year teacher culture shock he experienced and suggests strategies to support educators during their first year of teaching.    

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It’s 8:45 on a quintessential New England fall morning, and I look around our seminar room at the faces of our fifteen newly-inducted teacher interns. Some are sipping coffee, others are tapping on their laptops, while many others are visiting and catching up with colleagues they haven’t seen in a week. It’s only September, but their faces and body language are not as sunny as the weather. I can tell that already some of the expected anxiety and uncertainty has started to bubble up. After all, our interns have been thrust into an unfamiliar school, a new classroom, and many have started teaching lessons even though they’re still figuring out just exactly what it means to be a teacher.  I’m sure I’ll be having a few empathetic conversations later today.

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