Advice To A First Year Physics Teacher

I am on the emailing list for the Global Physics Department and lurk at their meetings. Last week they had a meeting giving advice to new physics teachers. Members were invited to give out advice ahead of time though a form. I thought the questions were great. All the responses are here. The websites section was filled with great resources beyond my suggestion. I claim mine here: 

What is the most important/useful object you've brought into your classroom?
Short answer: Laptop and projector. Long answer: For years I had a coffee can with a rubber band through the top and bottom and a 500g mass hanging from the rubber band. I called it the can of wonder. Once or twice a week when students were walking in I would roll this can up the middle of the room and it would roll back to me. We did not study this for months, but it built up an expectation that wondering and questions and the unexpected were going to happen. 

Here's a great way to get feedback FROM students...
My absolute favorite question to ask (and you can do this on scrap paper, in a public forum, in a private assignment depending on your needs) is, "What did you hear today?" This question cuts through the your expectations and their nervousness about being right and asks them to report without value what went through their head. I always learn from the answers.

Here's a great way to give feedback TO students...
Right when they ask for it, not when you think they need it. It took me years to figure out that if a student came up to me during a test and could not figure out a question and really wanted to know the answer now I had a teachable moment that I had to use. Now I take them a little out of earshot and explain. 

What would you tell your first-year-teacher self to STOP doing?
Taking kids behavior personally.

What would you tell your first-year-teacher self to START doing?
They did not exist then, but reading blogs about teaching and at least lurking in the greater world of teaching and learning and physics. I guess I did this by joining AAPT, NSTA and MiAAPT and going to conventions and in the Michigan meetings.

One awesome website you should follow is: