ABCs of Basic Life Support

In first aid, the ABCs of basic life support indicate Airway, Breathing, and Circulation; first, a victim should be helped to breathe by lifting her chin and tilting her head back, unless a neck injury is suspected; second, breathing should be listened for; third, a heartbeat or pulse should be checked for, indicating normal blood circulation.

adjuvant instructional time

Additional time slots before and after a teacher's daily instructional time when she prepares lessons and gets ready to teach.


An educational leader within a school district, including the superintendent, as well as each of the principals and assistant principals at the school sites.

agency fee

A contract-negotiated rule requiring teachers to join the local teacher's association or pay fees.


A student planner or plan book used by students to record assignments and by teachers to communicate with parents on a regular basis. A printed sheet of items that will be discussed at a meeting.

answer key

A list of correct answers, keyed to a specific test, to be used for grading.


A hearing involving a mediator who hears evidence and renders a binding decision.

back-to-school night

An event held on an evening near the start of the school year where parents visit their children's teachers to view classrooms, examine schoolwork, and confer with teachers.


A school fundraising event where parents sell baked goods, T-shirts, and other items.

bilingual education

A process where limited-English speakers or non-English speakers are taught in English and in a primary home language — generally Spanish in the United States.

boarding school

A school that provides students not merely with full-time academic instruction, but with meals and full-time living quarters as well.

buddy teacher

A teaching colleague, usually working in a neighboring classroom, who you can send misbehaving students to for brief time-outs.

bulletin board

An area of classroom wall space that can provide lively and appropriate decoration or showcase student work or display timely school-related information.

business casual

The business-casual look for men generally consists of tasteful polo shirts, pleated slacks, and comfortable yet presentable shoes. For women, the business-casual look is generally quite similar to that of the men, except that tasteful, below-the-knee shorts or tailored skirts are often substituted for full-length slacks.

career portfolio

A collection of documents that highlight educational and professional achievements, used by savvy adults to attain promotions or raises.


Headaches sometimes experienced by students perhaps necessitating a trip to the school nurse.


A teacher or other responsible adult assigned to a school dance or other social function to safeguard kids and prevent inappropriate behavior.

charter school

Taxpayer-supported public schools operated by individuals or private corporations under a charter or grant of permission from a state or school district allowing them to experiment with innovative methods and sidestep bureaucratic regulations.

child sexual molestation

Also called child sexual abuse; a child experiences unwanted, degrading, and emotionally harmful sex talk, embracing, touching, kissing, or even intercourse, forced upon her or him by an adult or another child.


A medical condition where vocal chords get inflamed, usually from shouting, and which can temporarily cause loss of voice.

classroom management

A personal toolkit of policies, actions, and words a teacher uses to keep her classroom functioning smoothly.

classroom meeting area

A bit of classroom space set aside for the purpose of holding intimate teacher-class discussions regarding timely and important issues.

classroom suspension form

A form, generally containing a lengthy essay to be copied, used for sending a student out of the classroom due to nonstop goofing and disruption.

clinical depression

An ongoing psychiatric disorder which debilitates and saddens some children to such a degree that they cannot competently function in school.

collective bargaining agreement or contract

The contract is negotiated between the association and the district and enumerates teachers' and administrators' rights.

collective bargaining process

Procedures established by state law to ensure associations and districts bargain in good faith to craft a contract covering salaries, hours, and working conditions.

content management system (CMS)

Software that allows you, your students, your colleagues, and school administrators to utilize passwords to upload bulletins, articles, essays, stories, poetry, artwork, and more to a custom website.

cooperative learning

Students work in pairs or small groups to advise and assist one another in order to complete an assignment.

copy master

An original document used for making copies for student use.

corporal punishment

The use of spanking or other physical coercion to induce students to behave properly.


Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, where the heartbeat and respiration of a nonresponsive victim are restored through chest compressions and breathing into the victim's mouth.

cross-curricular teaching

Also called interdisciplinary teaching, a master teacher's attempts to enliven lessons by lifting a particular concept from its narrow academic field and relating it to other academic fields.


Orderly classroom storage compartments where students may store personal belongings or classroom supplies.

cumulative file

Also known as a cum (pronounced “kyoom”), a comprehensive record containing a student's photograph, contact information, health data, grades, teachers' comments, and other personal information.


A bleak state of mind characterized by listlessness, hopelessness, and deep sadness and often arising in children due to molestation or extreme environmental factors.

detention slip

A form used by teachers to assign chronically misbehaving students to serve a certain number of minutes after school, either in a teacher's classroom or elsewhere.


A set of ethical procedures and rules whereby you appropriately control your students, enabling them to learn.

dress code

The set of rules indicating which clothes students may and may not wear.


A practice run through, held periodically at a school site to help ensure that students and staff will be trained in competently dealing with a real emergency if one should arise.


A type of emergency drill where students duck under their desks and cover the backs of their necks with their interlaced fingers, in the event of an attack or other catastrophe.


A mathematical disability where students experience trouble understanding mathematical tasks such as memorization of math-facts tables, telling time, counting money, etc.


A specific type of writing disability or physiological problem inhibiting a student's ability to write competently.

earthquake-preparedness policy

A school's emergency rules that will help ensure students will survive an earthquake.


Electronically transmitted messages or “mail” from one computer to one or more outlying computers.


The court-ordered, legal separation of a child from his parents.

emergency kit

Also called a medical box, medical kit, or med-kit. A clear plastic box containing adequate amounts of basic emergency medical supplies such as bandages, etc.


A state-mandated assessment where an administrator observes you teach, then writes observation reports and a final evaluation.

extracurricular duties

Tasks that a teacher generally performs outside of her classroom.

fair-use doctrine

Under United States copyright law, a legal doctrine allowing teachers to photocopy and use copyrighted materials such as textbooks for educational purposes without securing permissions from writers and publishers.


A legally mandated free and appropriate public education for all disabled students, a right often unfairly denied in the past.

field trip

A school-sponsored journey to educational sites outside the school.


A teacher who doesn't have her own classroom, but moves from room to room in a school, educating students.

focus box

A piece of technology that lets your classroom computer display documents and animated presentations directly to your classroom TV.


The fear of speaking in public.

good faith

Acting based on a reasonable belief in the truthfulness of what you're doing and saying.

graphical user interface

A bundle of powerful capabilities found in word-processing software allowing you to import graphic elements such as clip art, pictures from the Internet, pictures from your computer, etc., into your documents.


A written complaint that the administrator has violated the law or the agreement between the district and association.

gross negligence

A willful and wanton neglect of a legal responsibility.

hall pass

A tear-off form that a teacher fills out when a student needs to leave the classroom.

home learning

Also called homework, where students complete exercises at home to reinforce what was taught at school.


One's heartfelt love of what is good, just, and right, including good manners, courteous behavior, and treating others as you wish to be treated.


HyperText Markup Language, used to create computer-accessible documents for the world wide web network of linked documents.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, passed in 1975 by the U.S.

Congress, where disabled students were given the legal right to a free, appropriate public education.


An individualized education program, also called an individualized education plan, a personalized instructional program created for disabled students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), passed by the United States Congress in 1975.


Both sides in contract negotiations declare a stalemate and admit that further negotiations will prove fruitless in the short term.

in loco parentis

A Latin legal term meaning “in place of parents,” indicating that within the school setting teachers substitute for parents in many ways.


A district-sponsored seminar to disseminate information for professional growth.


Rude, unprofessional, insulting, or inappropriate behavior directed from a teacher toward an administrator, often resulting in the employee's termination.


Also called the Information Super-Highway, a planet-spanning network of billions of computers, all sharing information.


A local network set up to handle e-mail traffic in your school or district.


A strangely amusing disconnect between what is and what ought to be.

job action

Similar to a strike because employees withhold labor during contract negotiations to gain better terms; but a job action involves unorthodox tactics as well as a partial, rather than a complete, withholding of labor.

learning center

An area consisting of a table and some chairs where students can engage in self-directed educational enrichment using the supplemental educational materials provided.

learning disability

A physiological problem which can interfere with a student's speech, hearing, or information-processing skills; therefore, affecting his overall ability to learn.


A term created by the United States Department of Education to identify students who are learning the English language. A somewhat more modern and widely accepted abbreviation is an ELL, or English-language learner.


A state of emergency announced by an administrator over a school's public-address system; students and school personnel must remain in locked rooms as protection against armed attackers.

maintenance-work request form

A check-off sheet to inform custodial personnel that a classroom requires cleaning or restocking of supplies or specific repairs.

master teacher

A professional designation created by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), a nonprofit organization established in 2001 dedicated to “increasing the supply of highly qualified teachers essential for achieving student success.”

material term

In a written agreement, a term which the drafter considers extremely important.

memorandum form

A customized, teacher-created form a teacher uses to send messages to colleagues, administrators, and other staff.


Reducing a conversation to a letter and mailing the letter to one of the participants in the conversation.


The unlawful and inappropriate touching of children for sexual purposes.

mp3 player

A handheld device such as the Apple iPod Nano that can store huge amounts of digital audio data.

multilanguage bilingual education

Where non-English speakers attend classes with English speakers in order to gain assistance and encouragement from peers.

multimedia cart

A wheeled, portable trolley well stocked with modern audio-visual equipment.

navigating the classroom

When a student leaves his assigned seat with the teacher's permission to walk about the classroom to accomplish a specific purpose.


A civil action arising when someone fails to do a thing which any reasonable person would certainly have done.

nonapology apology

Different from a sincere apology, in that the person apologizing tries to make the recipient feel that she is far too sensitive in regards to the original slight.

no-strike clause

A provision in an association-district contract barring collective bargaining members from striking, both sides agreeing instead to be bound by an arbitrator's final decision.

online learning

Also called electronic learning or e-learning, where college-level courses are offered to teachers online to facilitate professional growth.

overhead projector

An optical device for showing enlarged images on a white screen to facilitate instruction.


Your district's Peer Assistance and Review Program, created by state statutes to offer guidance and assistance to teachers to help them become more competent educators.

parent conference

A face-to-face meeting, generally arranged by a teacher, between a teacher and a parent to discuss a student's academic and/or behavioral progress.


An individual code a student uses to gain access to a website.

pattern disruption

A term used by comedians to indicate laughter arising from the disruption of familiar patterns of images, objects, and ideas.


A teacher of young children.

phone tree

A list of people to call in case of emergencies to receive further directives.

positive reinforcement

Where a student who exhibits a desired behavior instantly receives a reward for that behavior to induce a repetition.

preparation period

Also called a planning period, this is a teacher's time slot for planning lessons, grading papers, copying papers, etc.


The planning a teacher engages in before students arrive, such as writing lesson plans, procuring materials and equipment, etc., to get the classroom ready to receive students.

presentation program

Computer software allowing teachers to create and present lessons to students using the classroom computer and television.


The chief educational leader of a school in charge of budgeting, teacher evaluation, and academic instruction.

private schools

Educational institutions funded by tuition rather than taxpayers.

professional growth

The accumulation of professional information and training subsequent to graduation and employment by completing a certain number of hours in college classes.


The Parent-Teacher Association, or Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA), founded in 1897 in Washington, D.C., is a child-advocacy organization with 23,000 U.S. chapters.

reading rewards program

A reading program that assigns a certain number of points to particular books, which are then awarded to students who successfully read the books and pass computer quizzes keyed to the books.


A time slot set aside for students to temporarily exit the classroom and enjoy approved recreational activities.

recurring meeting

A particular type of meeting held at regular calendar intervals, generally once a month.


Rules created by organizations to prohibit undesirable behavior or mandate desirable behavior.


Restoring a person to “wholeness” who has been damaged in some way.


A machine that converts text or graphics into computer information.


A grant of money from charitable foundations, the federal government, etc.

school board

The elected overseers of a school district in charge of hiring and firing, district finances, and setting the district's policies.


Where prerecorded computer data can be played on your computer just like a movie using a DVD; or the information can be streamed to your computer over the Internet.

search engine

A website that enables you to search the world wide web for information.

sick days

Days provided by state statute or contract that a teacher may utilize in the event of illness or matters of personal necessity.


During contract negotiations, teachers phone-in sick en masse to disrupt district operations.

snow day

A form of weather-related cancellation where a school or other organization is forced to shut down temporarily due to the onset of problematic, clearly unsafe, or even life-threatening weather.

sovereign immunity

A legal doctrine giving governmental entities and their employees immunity from lawsuits arising from torts,or civil wrongs, committed by government employees.

standard business attire

For men, a suit-jacket, slacks, dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes. For women, a suit-jacket, blouse or knit top, a tasteful skirt, panty hose, and dress pumps or flats.


A state or federal law enacted by legislatures.


A collective action by a majority of your local association's teachers or bargaining unit members, who vote to withhold their labor because the district has not met the association's contract-negotiation demands.

student conference

A face-to-face meeting, generally called by a teacher, between the teacher and one of her students to discuss academic and/or behavioral issues.

student portfolios

A set of file folders, one for each student, arranged alphabetically by students' last names, to hold graded and recorded work.

substitute teacher

Also called a sub, a temporary teacher who fills in for a regular classroom teacher when the teacher is indisposed.

substitute teacher's notebook

A binder full of indispensable information such as emergency lesson plans, etc., for use by a substitute teacher when the regular classroom teacher is absent.

supply order form

A checklist used to quickly reorder essential classroom supplies.

suspension form

A form used by a teacher for serious disciplinary problems when other forms of discipline have failed or when a student commits a particularly egregious offense.

sustained silent reading

Also called SSR, a class period where students read quietly.

synchronous conferencing

Technologies that allow students and online course instructors to confer with each other over the Internet.

talking books

Prerecorded novels and nonfiction books read by professional actors or the authors themselves.


When a student arrives late to class.

tardiness letter

Mailed to the parents of those students who arrive chronically tardy.

teacher's aide

A person who assists you with the many classroom-management tasks you'll face each day as a teacher.

teachers' association

A recognized organization of teachers who elect representatives to improve employee working conditions and wages.

teacher's pet

A commonly used slang term indicating a student who is perceived by other students as receiving unfairly favorable treatment from a teacher.

teaching credential

A state-issued license, granted for a lifetime or a specific time period, permitting a person to teach specific subjects and grade levels within the state.

tickler file

Invented by businessperson David Allen for holding twelve monthly folders and thirty-one daily folders, all containing tasks to be timely completed.


A contract requirement that you file a grievance within a certain number of days.


A document showing preplanned activities and designated times for those activities.


A civil wrong committed by government employees or anyone else.

transitional bilingual education

Where students are taught in their own language for a few years then moved into mainstream English-only classes.


A piece of clear plastic with educational material drawn, written, or printed on it, designed to be projected onto a screen using an overhead projector.


Fees that parents pay to private schools for their children's care and instruction.


A student's real name, or a fanciful moniker, used to gain access to a website.

vicarious liability

A legal doctrine that says the state is responsible for the negligence of its agencies.


A complex answering-machine system which uses a series of recordings to shunt telephone messages to your classroom.


When a teacher walks around a school campus prior to the arrival of students to become familiar with the facilities and traffic patterns of a school site.

word processing

Using your classroom computer, along with word-processing software, to type and print professional-looking documents.

word wall

An area of classroom wall space to display sentence strips or word cards featuring useful vocabulary words the class has learned.

work-to-rule strategy

During contract negotiations, teachers forego the hours of free work they donate to their districts each year and instead follow all workplace rules to the letter — leaving and arriving precisely on time, using lunchtime to eat instead of grading papers, etc.

world wide web

Generally referred to by its call letters — www — the world wide web is a network of linked documents accessible by modem and computer.

writing disability

A physiological problem inhibiting a student's ability to write competently.

yard duty

A professional responsibility where teachers watch over students during specified times and in specified areas such as the athletic field, multipurpose room, crosswalks, etc.

zero tolerance

A policy and attitude permitting absolutely no amount of proscribed misbehavior.

  1. Home
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Glossary of Essential Teaching Terms
Visit other sites: