The purpose of your whole career is to provide the best education possible for our students. As a teacher (and, more generally, as a person), one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is to become the best you can be. The following tips can help you become a better teacher to ensure your students are successful.
1. Look after your health
You need to stay healthy so that your students can learn. Stay healthy, happy, and at the top of your game by scheduling time to relax, decompress, and take care of yourself. You will only set yourself up for sickness by neglecting yourself, and you will even end up burnt out. Engagement is paramount in teaching.
2. Take time to reflect on your actions
The ability to self-reflect is essential for self-improvement. If you have never observed your actions and written your thoughts down, you may want to start today. At the end of the day, think about what went well, what went wrong, and what you might do differently the next time around.
3. Attend classes again
The unspoken rule of being a teacher is to always be learning yourself while also teaching others. Your education has a direct impact on the education of your students.
By learning, you can impart more knowledge to your students. Consider getting a master’s degree online. An online Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching program will allow you best practices to assess students’ progress and modify teaching methods to bring improvement. This will enable you to customize accommodations and modifications to meet the needs of individual students. And since it’s online, you will not have to juggle personal and work commitments. Additionally, you can gain additional certifications or micro-credentials to broaden your license.
4. Emphasize positive aspects
An issue that needs to be addressed is the Affective Filter. Praising is more important than correcting. If your students feel that they can succeed and are not stressed, they will perform better. Don’t forget to praise your students for their hard work and good behavior so they can achieve milestones along the way. The ideal positivity ratio is 5 to 1.
5. Don’t shy away from asking for assistance
It is no secret that teachers have very busy lives. Keeping up with paperwork, meetings, and personal responsibilities can sometimes be overwhelming.
Get a teaching assistant or have students perform more tasks themselves. You can get help with the menial tasks so that you can devote more time and attention to the important ones.
Additionally, never undervalue the value of a network of personal and professional connections.
6. Take a second language course
There is a chance that you have more than one student whose native tongue is different from what they’re attending their classes in. By learning another language, you can communicate well and understand their cultures, helping students improve their cognitive learning and preparing them for life outside of school theme for the real world.
You can also show empathy with students who are learning English as a second language by learning a second language yourself. It will develop an unspoken connection between you two.
7. Teach fluently and confidently
It is essential that you master a language (or whatever subject you like) before teaching it. Otherwise, you will not be able to truly understand what your students struggle with. There is a good chance that when you have trouble learning another language, how come your student won’t?
8. Get honest feedback from students
The thought alone may scare you, especially in your beginning years of teaching, when self-doubt and self-criticism are already at their peak. Asking for student feedback on top of it may seem like pointing a gun to the head, but it will help you grow and understand the points you need to work on.
Students usually adore their teachers, especially those who are sweet and polite. Even if you’re struggling, a child will notice your effort and may even form an unspoken connection. So there’s a high chance of getting positive and encouraging comments from your students that will ease off all your self-doubt.
Children are free from all politics and drama, so their positive and honest feedback will help you clarify your weaknesses so that you can work on improving them.
9. Don’t ignore anyone’s voice
Communication between teachers and students and student-to-student communication accounts for a great deal of classroom culture. As long as all students participate in discussions and share their opinions, culture cannot be optimized. Silencing some students will prevent them from contributing and limit their learning opportunities.
Classrooms can become boring and monotonous if students are afraid to speak their minds. Most of them hold back because they feel that only a few of their opinions will be heard. To make sure this doesn’t happen, make sure students participate as much as possible and evaluate the class in a formative manner.
10. Give them a chance to connect
Teaching can be mentally exhausting most of the time. At the end of the day, you just feel like putting the day behind you, going home, and relaxing your mind.
And it is understandable as teachers spend a lot of time with students (a lot more than parents do with their children!) that they aren’t in the mood for a personal conversation after work hours.
Instead, try to schedule a time DURING your school day when you can be available to students who need help or simply want to share their experiences. The activity will also give you the chance to take a break from monotonous teaching.
Here’s what you can do:
- Give away free lunch dates with you to students who are doing well or need personal attention
- Keep a jar in the classroom so students can drop notes and you can read at your leisure. It will help you stay up-to-date with what’s going on in their lives, so you can be more sensitive towards their situation in the classroom. Also, students will feel heard and appreciated.
- Take a walk on the playground with your students. There’s no pressure during that time, and you’re not staring at each other, so introverted students might open up during that time
- Consider sharing your contact information with students who struggle or scheduling a brief visit during independent work.
While there is no quick fix for improving your teaching abilities, you can certainly try and gain more skills to level up faster. These tips mentioned above can also help you be more productive and effective and help keep you grounded and engaged.