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educationfilter: I am becoming a teacher this upcoming year and I'll like to solicit the Hive mind's advice for the best, most innovative, effective educational bits of wisdom, advice, and methods you've done as a teacher or had a a teacher do with you or your class. Examples of precisely what I mean below the fold
June 20, 2012 10:16 AM   Subscribe

educationfilter: I am becoming a teacher this upcoming year and I'll like to solicit the Hive mind's advice for the best, most innovative, effective educational bits of wisdom, advice, and methods you've done as a teacher or had a a teacher do with you or your class. Examples of what I'm looking for below the fold.

I'm starting teaching this year in a small Midwestern city and although I don't know my subject quite yet, I'm pretty sure I'll be placed either in secondary science or in English. I have previously asked questions on AskMefi about learning how to best understand math and received some really great tips from people sharing techniques their teachers had implemented to quiet behavior and reinforce concepts. Some of these techniques were
1. Spiralling, or going over previous problems to help students build their skill and recall with them.
2. Another individual suggested that with a problem student, before or after class I should spend five or so minutes going away from the teacher persona and relating to the student on a more friendly, non authoritative basis. This has worked wonders with my more recalcitrant students.
3. When teaching math, it's often helpful to avoid using mathematical terminology and to focus on discussing the terms and digits in spatial terms. For example, instead of saying that in an improper fraction, the numerator is larger than the denominator, it's more effective to initially say the top number is larger than the bottom number.


What I'd like is for any of you guys to offer me up the best and most innovative pedagogical and classroom management methods in the classroom. Be free to share about your favorite teachers and things they did that really showed you they knew what they were doing. Nostalagizing is allowed and I'm happy to hear of any advice pertaining to any subject or grade level taught.

Basically I'm looking for bits of educational wisdom, know-how, and various tricks of the trade that we've seen done and that left us thinking "Wow, that' s a really great way of __________."

I look forward to what I'm sure will be a veritable lucre of useful answers and wonderful ideas.
posted by RapcityinBlue to Education (25 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was thrown into a classroom in the inner-city with no classroom management training.

Here's some stuff I learned.

1. Grade in a cheerful color, not red. Purple or green are much friendlier.

2. When correcting papers you only have to circle the mistakes, not provide the correction.

3. When passing papers, go from side to side, not back to front.

4. Have a "Do Now" posted on the board. The expectation is that each student will come in, sit down, get out a pen and paper and get to work. This will cut down on your having to wrangle everyone after the bell has rung.

5. Do a weekly progress report, your grading program should provide for this. Each kid should get one, if you can, email it to a parent.

6. Have a website with all of the pending assignments available. This is for students and parents. Let everyone know that it is up to them to review it, and to be current on it.

7. Have a plan for making up missed work. I had a bin installed by the door with the assignements for each day. If a student missed an assignment, he or she was responsible for checking the bin, seeing what he or she missed and making it up. You should not chase anyone down to give them this information.

8. Don't be afraid to call home, especially if you have something good to say. I wish I had more contact with my student's parents. If you have a kid who's doing fine, but could stand to shut up more, call home, give praise where it's warranted, and let the parent know that the kid needs some help with personal management. It doesn't have to be a big deal, but you don't want to meet a parent for the first time with a handful of referrals and a heart full of resentment.

9. Mix up the learning styles. School supplies are very cheap in August. Work your coupons and get crayons, markers, rulers and containers for everythying. Now you can have your kids draw their own covers for books, a sketch of a character, etc. Have muscial kids write a song inspired by what you are doing in the class. Have kinesthetic kids make up a dance. Not everyone will be word oriented.

10. Don't be afraid to be silly. I had a debate class and everyone loved when I brought in tiaras. The assignment is to think up a Miss America platform. So I took pictures and we all had a ball. Everyone did great on the assignment too.

11. Have something fun, but constructive to do close to vacations and around exams and testing. Scrabble, Boggle, any other fun game.

12. This is for the week prior to the end of school. Have your students get into teams. Have lots and lots of art materials handy. They are now each, an island nation. They have to:

a. Name the Island
b. Develop a Government
c. Design a flag
d. Make a national anthem (they can use a tune to any song they like, but they make up their own words, extra points for an original tune.)
e. Create tourisim materials

You get the idea.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:38 AM on June 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


The most valuable piece of teaching advice I ever got was to be just and transparent. Kids have such little control over their lives that the perception that the system is gamed or that you are not being just is incredibly harmful for the classroom and for how they trust you.

Also, as a new teacher you will probably try to plan too much for classes. Try to resist that impulse if you can.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:46 AM on June 20, 2012


Make everything about what's being taught, and never about you.

Structure classes so that students achieve success immediately (start out each class by copying notes from the board or doing a worksheet).

Make sure you praise all students, even the ones that get on your nerves.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:59 AM on June 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Be prepared to go off the lesson plan. Teachable moments really do exist.
Listen to your students; even their silence tells you something.
Move around the classroom- your desk is for when class is out.
Get the kids out of their seats at least once a class. They need to move and it will be easier to control them if they are not all jittery.
Keep plenty of supplies so there is never an excuse for no pencil or paper. I had kids bring in a pack of pens,pencils and paper for a classroom stash.
If you have your own room start a classroom library of books you can pick up at Goodwill or from friend's donations.
Review things in a fun way- the next day make notes on strips of paper in a basket and have students pull then out and either read them aloud for a break or write them on the whiteboard during your first few minutes of class when you are doing attendance,etc...
As a laid off teacher in a budget constricted state I envy you-Enjoy your teaching experience!!!
posted by Isadorady at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


then-_them
posted by Isadorady at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2012


Have a wall blank, if you can, and a quiet corner for people who need to wind down or refocus.

Have extra stuff a kid can do if they go beyond what's laid out for the day/week/month.

One thing that's helpful for kids who lose focus is a bit of a checklist or flowchart for their trouble points, be it completing a project, gathering their things for the end of the day, et cetera.

Find alternatives, if needed, for kids to produce or create things. A terrible handwriter might do well recopying their thoughts after they've verbalised them and had them typed up. Someone who isn't great at drawing or explaining while sitting in their seat might do better acting out the concepts (I just pictured a class participation of the solar system rotating ...).

Homonyms homonyms homonyms. That and "expressions" - my kiddos love exploring some of the crazy things we say or what "other things words can mean".
posted by tilde at 11:10 AM on June 20, 2012


I would also just focus on the basics for the first 3 years of teaching, such as just getting through the curriculum. Teaching is an incredibly complicated and challenging activity, so focusing on doing a small number of things well is your best strategy for survival.

Students tend to respect competence.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:50 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyboldy have specific pedagogical techniques like Spiralling that worked for them when they were in class. What about ideas governing classroom management? Were there activities that were especially useful in helping students to retain information?

Although this might sound a little conceited, but I really thought this question would elicit more responses than it has gotten. However, thank you for the answers that I've gotten thus far. I will look forward to using them in class.

More suggestsions are welcome.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 12:06 PM on June 20, 2012


I am a teacher and I was working all day- can't easily check phone/internet/etc often in a school environment!

The deal is that it totally depends on what type of school you are placed in. I also have inner-city students and extreme budget cuts (we ran out of paper at one point this year and half of my dept got cut this week)...so really we are just in 'survival mode', sad but true.

Our students are troubled and often troubling and basically forming relationships is your best bet- make them enjoy coming to school, or at least make it a positive experience for them by recognizing them and enquiring after their family/pets/sports events.

I wish I could say 'buy red folders!, seat people alphabetically!, or some other concrete example of something to do but really it depends on where you work and what the climate of the school is.

It's a tough time for teachers. Good luck.

(Note: there have been threads on inner city classroom management before and I think creative ideas for english classes).
posted by bquarters at 1:03 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really second the idea of the "Do Now" that Ruthless Bunny suggests - it´s a very effective way of helping the class to start promptly. One of my co-workers would always have her kids do both a "Warm Up" (another name for a Do Now) and a "Cool Down" as an exit card to assess their mastery of the objective. I always have found that routine and established procedures (for going to the bathroom, beginning and ending the class, and so on) have been key to classroom management - something I learned after struggling with that my first year. A great book to read with lots of ideas for setting procedures is "The First Days of School," by Harry K. Wong. Another book that helped me tremendously is "Teach Like a Champion" by Doug Lemov.

One very effective way to help students grasp unfamiliar vocabulary is having a Word Wall complete with images or quotes that make the meaning of the new word clear. Obviously you can adapt this to any subject, and even have the kids make the cards. Which leads me to another point - I remember as a first year teacher I felt like I had to do everything myself, but all this did was stress me out even more and prevent the kids from participating as much as they could have. Let them help you - it will increase their comprehension and help them feel ownership of the classroom. Another strategy we would use a lot is music and chants - especially now as I teach English as a Foreign Language. Help the kids to come up with new lyrics to popular songs - for example, my 8th graders wrote a new verse to "Tik-Tok" by Kesha about the 6 Traits of Writing, and we sang it so much I almost forgot the original lyrics. Feel free to me-mail me if you would like!
posted by luciernaga at 1:11 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


One thing I did that was super helpful in a 2 hour block, was write the agenda on the board. This way the kids knew what was coming and the class had predictability to it.

As for a method, have each student prepare and teach a short lesson. This is awesome for retention.

You can do this with vocabulary words. Each student has one, they have to draw a picture of it (as best as one can) then stand up and explain it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2012


On preview, I definitely agree with what bquarters points out - every school is different, and the only way to really learn what your school is like is through experience. The school I started off at (in rural Texas) and school I am at now (in inner-city Santiago) are very different. Don't be afraid to ask for help from other teachers, but do understand if they say they are too busy to help you due to work, families, whatever. I was stressed enough teaching without a family- I don't know how teachers with children do it.
posted by luciernaga at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2012


Classroom management strategies:

Always make the focus on the curriculum and measurable results. For example, students know why they are in class - to learn, study and work hard. If they're not doing their work, well, they're not doing their work and it's easy to tell. So instead of saying, "no talking" or "why are you listening to your MP3 player?" you can say, "why aren't you doing your work?"

So keep the focus off the students, and there will be less arguing, and less opportunity for a bad dynamic to develop.

Keep things simple by adopting a "mastery" approach. You should have 3 classes of assignments during class: easy stuff, like worksheets and copying from the blackboard, more difficult stuff like using the textbook to answer questions, and more interesting and creative stuff like book reports.

There are going to be 1/3 of the students in your class who are going to have a hard time. The worksheets are for them. The other 2/3 of students will finish the worksheets easily, so give them the questions to do. 1/3 of the students in the class will finish the questions easily, so give them the "mastery assignment" to do. They can pour a lot of time and effort and creativity into it, while the rest of the class plows through the meat and potatoes, simpler stuff.

The mastery approach does a couple of things: 1) it provides the lower learners in the class with an easy activity to do, so there are no excuses for goofing around 2) it provides the more motivated students in the class with some more enriched to spend their time on - they don't have to wait around for the average kids. That's one of the biggest crimes of our Bell Curve-oriented mediocre education system.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, and as a parent: truly understand the implications of homework. During this last month of school, there is very little going on at school, which is fine. Kids go on field trips and that sort of thing. The crime, though, is that homework is being assigned during this last month, notably on weekends, which is a real shame.

And, when homework is assigned, often it seems obvious that the teacher hasn't thought things through - often there is a requirement to look things up on the internet at home, and print out pictures in colour. There are also instructions to look stuff up on YouTube ( this is Grade 4 we're talking about).

There are several leaps of logic being made here: 1) we have a computer 2) we have access to the internet 3) we have a colour printer 4) we have time to spend teaching our son about where to research on the internet 5) we are comfortable with our son looking at YouTube.

At the very least, teachers ought to discuss home Internet use with parents.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:59 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a remedial math teacher.

I'm going start off with "The Whammy," which is a subtle form of mind control, and awesome for classroom management. Basically, what you do is tell kids that THEY enjoy having a nice, quiet, cooperative class conducive to learning, and that you're really impressed by it. You can get the ball rolling by saying that a few of them have told you that they really enjoy your class because they feel like they can get a lot of work done there, and then double down by saying how impressed you are that the group is so studious. An individual kid won't have enough information to refute this, because he doesn't know for a fact that EVERYONE DIDN'T say that to you. Or you can pose the question, "Who wants a class where they can focus and do their best work?" You'll get a lot of hands up (of course some of them will be BSing you), and then you say, "Wow! I'm really impressed! You look like a really serious group of students."

So what you're doing is creating the belief on an individual level that "everybody else" enjoys a professional atmosphere in the classroom, and it winds up becoming true very quickly. I've done this and seen kids who are the most seeking of attention and approval from other kids start shushing others when they're talking and stage whispering, "Shhh! I'm trying to focus!" in the midst of a quiet class if someone does something even remotely distracting.

You also have to reflect this back to the kids in the way you conduct yourself while they are working. If someone raises their hand, you walk quietly over to them and address their question quietly to subtly reinforce that you're respecting the quiet that the rest of the class wants. If someone causes a disruption, you let them know that "people are working" as part of your redirection. You also have to point out how well they're working, how mature they are, and/or how much you enjoy working with them regularly while they're behaving, and say it out of nowhere instead of at the beginning or end of class.
posted by alphanerd at 3:24 PM on June 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Other odds and ends:

Always remember that you are the only person in the room who is there by choice.

Pay attention to the affective domain and make sure you are not sending discouraging messages. If someone asks you how to do something that you just went over a couple of days ago, don't point out that you went over it a couple of days ago, just focus on the fact that the kid wants to learn and go from there. Don't prompt kids with "You should know this." use something like, "Does anyone remember how to do X? Can you help us out?" If someone asks you what page you're on and you just said it, or it's on the board, don't belabor it, just respond. Because you are 100% fucked if you respond to questions in a way that suggests the questions are stupid.

You should always look at the fact that a kid is taking a risk by admitting they don't know something and absolutely cradle that. If a classmate pipes up with a snide "You don't know how many sides an octagon has?" to a kid who asks the question, call that behavior out immediately (the insult is public, so the response should be public) as being counterproductive and rude.

If you have a good idea who the troublesome kids are going to be, try giving them a job to do as soon as you can to get them on your side, like passing out papers or taking something to the office. If a kid misbehaves, you're much better off waiting until the class's attention is on something else, and having a very up close and personal conversation with him using whispers and projecting calmness than getting into a back and forth in front of everyone, or taking the kid out into the hall. You lose a lot by letting kids see you upset. Rather than saying, "Stop the talking!", you're better off walking up to them and saying, "Is everything okay over here?"

If you wind up teaching math, you can develop very high level questioning techniques by leaving different pieces of information out of a problem and having kids solve for them. For example, if you're doing fraction addition, try having the kids solve a problem like this:

? / 4 + 2 / ? = 11/12

Or, try a division problem that looks like this: 56 ÷ ? = 9 R 2

Mistake-finding is also always a great source for questions, especially if you can get a kid to figure out WHY someone might have slipped up and made that mistake.

Also, with math, the big difficulty is always switching gears from one type of problem to another. You're always better off having kids do a few word problems where they have to choose the operation than a bunch of word problems where they always have to multiply, especially if they know going into it that they're all multiplication problems.

Also, I'm not sure how well this will translate at the high school level, I switch up how I want my kids to show they know the answer beyond hand raising, and it gets kids more involved. I've had them do the Discount Double Check, the wave, disco dance, pat their heads, do a drumroll on their desks with two fingers, flap their arms like they're flying, and so on.

Also, have kids hold up fingers to show a number as a response.

If you're doing something multiple choice, use vowels as your answer choices (a, e, u, y, avoiding i and o which look like a 1 and a 0) and have the students respond in unison, and you'll be able to hear if the answers are the same or different.

I also use "thump" as a way of assessing. I simply have kids thump their desks (you can use the bottom of the desk to increase anonymity) in response to an event to check for understanding. (For example, a bunch of shapes on the board, thump when I'm pointing to a polygon.)

Also, I give out prizes like fake mustaches, rub-on tattoos, bubbles, frog poppers, peace sign necklaces, penguin erasers, etc. I get them at Party City. Prizes are good as long as they're intermittent rewards instead of bribes, and everyone has an equal chance of getting one. So I'll pick two kids at random at the end of a period out of a hat, or give one or two as a prize in a Bingo game, or give them an easy problem and have everyone fill out a ticket with the answer and do a drawing that way.
posted by alphanerd at 3:26 PM on June 20, 2012


As some have said above the reason you haven't been deluged with answers is because there are lots of great ideas and teaching strategies out there, but great teaching is a craft, an art. Would you ask Metafilter to give you our best painting techniques because you want to be a painter? Would that help you much really? You learn a little here, a little there. You watch the teacher down the hall; you make mistakes and learn from them. You find what works for your students this year and then realize that none of it works with next year's kids. So you start all over again. This probably isn't the answer you were looking for, but this is what makes teaching so hard and makes great teachers so few and far between.
posted by tamitang at 4:14 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a badass classroom manager. The single best thing I do start building relationships with my middle schoolers (and management, at least in my opinion, at least in middle school, is least 80% relationship-building) is stand outside my door during passing period and greet every kid by name with a smile as he/she enters. I start this on the very first day of class, even though I have to ask them their name as they come in. I often add a question (what was the best thing you've done so far today? why did the frog cross the road?) as my or their mood dictates. It is shocking what a difference this small act makes in my day-to-day life with my students.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:26 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Congrats on your new job!

It's really difficult to answer a question like this because every student, classroom and school is entirely different. It's easier to answer how to deal with X when X happens. There is no patent set of tools or methods that are all encompassing.

The idea is to go into a classroom with a vast array of management tools that you can apply or incorporate when necessary.

On that note, I suggest that you use your first couple of days doing intake on your students. Maybe a couple of (general knowledge in the subject) quizzes and maybe a short essay by each student describing themselves. That will give you an opportunity to find out where your strong and weak links are. It's always best to find out right at the start.

I also suggest that you do pre-tests or quizzes prior to lessons. Again, you'll be able to find out who needs help and you can tailor lessons accordingly. Both of these suggestions should help you find out what the needs are before the needs become problems.

Best of luck to you!
posted by snsranch at 7:30 PM on June 20, 2012


I really like alphanerd's "Whammy" - I teach 5-6 year olds and I start the year off by telling the kids that they are at school to learn; they have the right to learn and the responsibility to help others learn. If they are playing up, they are "stopping [whoever/us] from learning". If they seem to be distracted or doing something outside the current activity I ask what learning they are doing right now. We are a community of learners and I completely saturate the class with that from the beginning. At 5 and 6 years old they understand why they are at school and what learning looks and sounds like. It impacts (positively) on their behaviour and they help each other regulate their behaviour - and it affects how they talk about their learning to their peers and family. I think setting that tone is the most important thing, regardless of age.
posted by tracicle at 1:56 AM on June 21, 2012


I disagree with the idea of over planning. I think, as a beginning teacher, it can be incredibly easy to go off track. You should never put yourself in a position where you're not sure what comes next. Make lesson plans, and keep track of what works and what doesn't. At the same time, you've got to realize that the plan is a guide, and I'd it isn't working, be ready to try something else.

With plans, you need to think about pace. If the pace is too slow, students lose interest. Too fast, students give up. Keep in mind that many students will have short attention spans, so keep your lessons moving, with activities between five and ten minutes for any activity to have a recognizable beginning, middle and end. If you can, get the students out of their seats at the beginning of class for a review activity that is relevant to that day's class.

Students learn better through pair and team work than they do from just listening to you. They learn even more when you put them in the role of teacher. Try to do that as often as is feasible.

When you are creating tests, work sheets, anything, try to do your est to set the students up to succeed, rather than fail. You will know your students (or you damn well should) well enough to know what they are capable of doing. Don't demand something from them that you know they can't do, it will discourage them, and that's just about the last thing you should do.

Be totally and completely fair in everything, interactions, grading, everything. Be understanding, but stick to what you say. One problem new teachers have is rules. Some people let the students create the rules, other people make their own. There's a good chance you won't get things to where you want them the first time. The thing is, if you make a rule, it is a rule. Of you change your rules, or keep making exceptions, students can, and most definitely will take advantage of it. That's part of what you need to figure out in your first year (and for a good while after, really). But seriously, make your rules, and stick to them. Every rule that you let slide makes it easier or students to worm their way out of other stuff. It's better to have fewer rules that you can keep than dozens of rules that get broken without consequence.

And yeah, remember that you're paid to be their, their stuck with you. Try to make their lives a little less difficult, not more.

Best of luck, have a great year. You're going to learn a lot. Personally, I look back on my first year as a series of failures that made me a better teacher. Learn from all of your mistakes, and be willing to acknowledge them to yourself, and to your students of you have to.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:14 AM on June 21, 2012


Oh, and one more thing (see what happens when you don't have a plan?), make sure your students know what is happening, and hat they are suppose to do. Homework goes on the board, explain it while you write it, and again at the end of class. Tests and long term projects get written up their too. Hopefully your students will take notes, but make sure you write out things that they should be paying special attention to. If need be, put boxes around things of real importance. Try to get students to understand that sitting and watching isn't learning, and encourage them to take an active role in their education, both in and outside the classroom.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:20 AM on June 21, 2012


I suggest you get Doug Lemov's "Teach Like a Champion," and Harry Wong's "The First Days" if you want practical teaching advice. They're both incredibly helpful to teachers.
posted by kinetic at 3:56 AM on June 21, 2012


Test very frequently, every day if you can, with just one to three simple questions about the day's lesson, just enough to show you whether you've been communicating and they've been learning.

Testing frequently helps us remember, lets you the teacher know every day whether you're doing the job right, lets students know every day whether they are keeping up, strongly encourages students to attend class and pay attention every day, reduces cramming for infrequent exams, and reduces psychological pressure by making tests a literally everyday thing.
posted by pracowity at 8:12 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, oh, oh....FLIP YOUR CLASS!

It may be too much for your first year, but I'm super into flipped class methodology. If you want to talk about it (or anyone else wants to talk about it!) memail me. The basic idea is that you hand responsibility for learning over to the students, and you use technology to make that happen. There is no one flipped class model, but there are TONS of resources for science, and far fewer for English (although I'm one of five-ten people who have flipped English that I know of...).

The great thing for new teachers is that flipping your class means that you can meet the needs of all your students more easily. It lets you plan and deliver your direct instruction without the "sit down and shut up" issue you face in today's classroom...or you can use someone else's videos.

I'd recommend the book by Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams as a starting place.

Here's some advice I gave about whether or not to become a teacher. Some of it is relevant here.

Other advice:
1. Decide which 2-3 rules you want to enforce. Don't make any more than that. And don't make a rule you're not willing to fight a parent in the principal's office over.

2. Backwards plan. Start with your assessment, and figure out how you'll get there. Understanding by Design is awesome for that.

3. Connect with your students. They don't have to be friends with you, but it doesn't hurt if they think you're a nice person and like you. Now, don't pander to them or work hard to make them like you. Be yourself, show them respect, use humour, and CARE. That's what works for me.

4. If you mess up in class, own it. Don't pretend you know something you don't. You can always use the "Oh, you know what? You can look that up for extra credit!" if you don't know something.

5. Don't grade everything. If it is diagnostic, give them credit/no credit. If it is a routine assignment (grammar worksheets, SSR, agendas, HW, etc.) don't collect it. Just use a spreadsheet on a clipboard and check them off when you walk around. Or better yet, use a platform like Edmodo and go paperless (if you can...don't know what tech is available to you). Only grade something that is SKILL-BUILDING and that will lead to mastery of the unit's skills.

I don't know how much this will be helpful because your first year is OMGIDON'TKNOWWHATI'MDOINGANDIFEELLIKEKILLINGMYSELF no matter how prepared you are. Reach out to the people in this thread and the other teachers who comment in other threads...Mefi has AMAZING teachers, and I've grown a lot as a professional here. I've also taught both HS English and science in lots of different schools, and I'm ALWAYS willing to help via memail, Google+ hangout, whatever.

Good luck. It's only one year, and it will be over before you know it. :-)
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