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 James Bell: Teacher of the Year 2007-2008 
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On Friday, November 6, I attended a semiar led by James Bell, North Carolina Teacher of the Year 2007-2008. Mr. Bell had some creative classroom management ideas as well a lot of helpful advice for beginning teachers. Mr. Bell actually was not an education major. He majored in journalism, worked as a journalist for a few years, then he entered teacher through lateral entry and later recieved his master's in education at ECU. Mr. Bell always swore that he would not be a teacher growing up but he eventually fell in love with his students and the profession.

Here are Mr. Bell’s top 10 ways to be a good teacher and to stay alive:
1. Stay out of negative teacher’s lounges.
2. Get to know the custodians and secretaries.
3. Know the parking lot.
4. Say thank you-a lot!
5. Dedicate time to lesson planning.
6. Stay unstressed-read a book or work out.
7. Avoid negative gripe sessions.
8. It’s ok to vent-to those you trust.
9. Steal ideas from really good teachers.
10. Love kids unconditionally!!!


Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:56 pm
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I also went to James Bell's presentation on November 6th. I really enjoyed hearing him speak, because it was very obvious from the start that he was passionate about teaching and that he was excellent at his job. His sense of humor and creativity made him really stand out in his achievements, for he seemed to definitely excel in problem solving and lesson planning-- all with the goal of keeping the students engaged and interested in mind. I enjoyed listening to him talk about creative ways in which he was able to solve problems in the classroom-- like having a mailbox system to save time on passing out papers, making a folder with the day's work for kids to pick up if they were absent, and making good behavior into a competition, where students are rewarded for their obedience.
Something that I really took away from his presentation was the idea that classroom management is as individual as teachers are. What may work for some may fail for others. So, it is important to know oneself and to use trial and error to decide what system works best in your own classroom. He also reminded us that it is important not to lose our creativity and energy once we enter the schools, because we have new ideas that we're bringing from college, but sometimes we forget them once we see how others run their classroom. Overall, I really enjoyed James Bell as a speaker and also took away a lot of good advice from him with regards to how to successfully model my classroom.

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Brooke Estridge


Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:47 pm
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I too attended the presentation by James Bell on November 6th. I was inspired by his attitude towards teaching and was reminded of all the teacher who had a positive influence on my desire to teach. I was particularly impressed by an idea that Brooke mentioned about making good behavior a competition. In other jobs I have worked, getting to know the secretaries and custodians has always paid off. Seeing that Mr. Bell holds the same belief lets me know that what I learn even outside the college setting can still be applied when I begin my teaching career. Mr. Bell's presentation seemed to be both affirming what I have been learning in my education and methods classes as well as providing new and interesting approaches to teaching. I am very grateful for having attended the presentation

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Michael S Cochran


Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:35 am
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I also went to the seminar from James Bell last Friday, November 6th. Of all the education seminars I've ever been to, I thought this one was the most helpful and interesting. He was a great public speaker and was very inspiring to listen to. Mr. Bell actually lives in a county which is only about an hour from my hometown so it was interesting to talk with him after the seminar about the work he has done in my own school system in Currituck. I felt like I got more useful classroom management ideas from this seminar than I have in any of my actual classes thus far. I also felt like I could relate to Mr. Bell because we both didn't plan to be teachers our entire lives. He began his career as a journalist but then found the rewards of teaching after he was offered a coaching position. Like others have observed, it was evident from his presentation that he is enthusiastic about education and making learning a process that students can actually enjoy. I really agreed with his attitude that the key element in running a successful classroom is loving kids unconditionally. Many of his ideas for improving education were centered around the relationship that must be built between students, teachers, and other school staff. One idea he proposed was to have “bad day slipsâ€


Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:11 pm
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James Bell's "Becoming a Successful Teacher" on November 6th held my attention the entire time and I was very moved by the things he said. One of the first things he asked someone was "what are you going to teach" and they replied "math," James Bell came back right away with the reply "no you are not going to teach math you are going to teach children." This really got me thinking that most of the time we get so got up in teaching to the standard course of study that we forget that these are children we are dealing with not machines that learn everything right away.
I believe that I truly learned a lot from the mistakes that he made and shared with us. For example one morning a mother called and said make sure my child takes the bus home, the day went on and he totally forgot to tell that child until after football practice around 6 when she was still sitting at school. From that day on he had a clip board next to the phone that had pieces of paper so he could write his messages down. He would write them down and post them to the board so he would not forget. This is something that I will have in my classroom because I do not have a good memory and if I get off the phone and start doing something else I am most likely going to forget. One other tip that I truly like is "the bad day slip." He would allow his students to pick one up and set it on there desks and he would not call on them during that class period. He explained the rules about it but the rule I liked the most was if you had one of these slips on your desk you were going to have a conversation with him for why they were having a bad day. He said this really allowed him to get to know his students and most of the times he worked out their issues with him. James Bell was truly an inspiration and I wish their were more teachers like him!

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Ali Deschenes


Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:12 pm
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