Please welcome a special guest post from Bobbie Walker for today’s Teaching Tip Tuesday.
Be prepared: Don’t wait until the first day of school to start your journey as a teacher – prepare for your new profession well in advance. Visit the school and familiarize yourself with the place, especially your classroom and other places where you have to interact with your students. If you’re familiar with the room, it’s easier to establish a comfort zone in which to get to know your students. Know what materials you will need to bring and what the school will provide, and formulate a rough idea as to how you will handle your first class.
Reach out: If you’re going to teach very young children, introduce yourself to the parents before term starts by emailing or calling them. You can obtain their contact details from the school office; encourage the parents to keep in touch with you throughout the year and to call you if they have any anxieties about their child. This will alleviate their fears of leaving their children in your care.
Know your stuff: The first step to achieving success as a teacher is to know your subject comprehensively – when you’re knowledgeable and don’t have to keep looking at your notes or the textbook to teach a class, you gain in confidence, and this boosts your status as a figure of authority. You have more control over your class and are able to gain the respect of your students.
Get to know your students: It’s important to break the ice with them as a person first before you start out as their teacher. So spend a few minutes of your first lesson with introductions and general chitchat. This helps you gain an overall perspective of your class before you begin teaching them.
- Enforce discipline: It’s probably the hardest thing a teacher has to do, but if you want the respect of your students, you must know how to enforce discipline in your classroom. Students tend to haze or tease a new teacher, and you mustn’t give them the chance to gain the upper hand by ignoring their misbehavior during your first few days in an attempt to get them to like you. Ask what’s appropriate by way of disciplinary action at your school, and be stern about enforcing them or admonishing students who are bent on creating trouble. Once you gain a reputation as a no-nonsense teacher, it’s easier to be in control of your class.
Each day that you teach gives you a new insight into this world of schools, books and students; so don’t worry about initial hiccups or random incidents of trouble – just keep doing what you’re supposed to do and you’ll be just fine.