A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, touches a heart, and shapes the future. - Anonymous
Have you recently joined a school as a teacher? Are you looking for some friendly advice and useful tips on how to make your classes fun and effective? Are your students overwhelming you? Well, you have no reason to worry because this article is for you. Read on to find some useful first time teaching advice that is easy to implement and fun to practice.
Let's start with some honesty. Children are cute and innocent but they can be quite a handful especially for first-time teachers. Teaching in schools or any college is not easy and can be mentally draining if not done well. Your class could either end up motivating you or sap you of all your energy in class. The process of learning and teaching is a two-way street. Having said that, a student expects her teacher to be the giver rather than the receiver. This makes the teaching job even more difficult. But there are some tried and tested methods, advice from experts, and useful resources that can make your teaching job a little less difficult. Especially given the current context of Covid where the coronavirus has taken a toll on the entire education system. The transition to online teaching hasn't been easy for either the teacher or the children.
Significance of Teachers in Education
The dictionary definition of a teacher simply describes her as someone who teaches, primarily in schools. But is that really it? Not really. Your pupils need your guidance in every walk of life. As a caretaker, knowledge builder, source of new information, providing a support system, act as parents, and so much more. The most important role of a teacher lies in the fact that the psychological and holistic development of the personality of children depends on how effective you are as a teacher. And how much help, support, and guidance you can offer as a mentor.
Responsibilities of A Teacher
Teachers are the face of education. In that light, they have some very important responsibility, irrespective of whether they are employed as staff members at a school or university or conduct private lessons for their students.
First Point of Contact for Children in School
Outside home, you are the first touchpoint for students in school. This means that you need to work hard to gain the trust of your students. The parent's community, at large, depends on you to take care of their children at school when they are not around. Even the child looks at you as someone who wants the best for her, and that should also be the goal of any teacher.
Repository of Knowledge
You are the primary source of any new information for your students in school or university. People look at your wisdom to teach important social skills, apart from academic know-how and even impart important health-related advice to the children.
Subject Matter Expert
Every single day you step into that classroom, a student expects you to bring your expertise to the table. To the students, you are the primary source of information related to your subject. That way, you are expected to be on top of your game every single time you are asked a question.
A Role Model
More than anything, a teacher is looked upon as a mentor. Someone who will hold the hands of their pupils even beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Useful First Time Teaching Advice
One of the most useful tips for effective teaching is to be able to visualize possible scenarios with students-either in the classroom or outside. Year after year, tons of teachers graduate but remain unsuccessful at their jobs due to a lack of proper training and orientation. Have a look at these effective teaching methods to enhance the learning experience of your students.
Establish the WIIFM
At the outset, students like to know the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?). Use your teaching skills to gain the attention of your students from the word go. This is made easy if you design your daily content in a way that establishes the learning outcomes at the very beginning of the lesson.
Build Empathy for Your Students
A good way of connecting with your students especially in a classroom setting is to split them up in groups with a mix of learning pace. This helps you understand and engage with the needs of each student and also encourages team work. Remember it is your job to take the children from what they already know to what they don't know.
Use Engaging Resources and Learning Aids
This is the top piece of advice from any education expert you meet. If the content delivery is not engaging, no matter what you do, students will only learn partially. Use visual aids, audiobooks, online podcasts, or anything that you can lay your hands on that could help students establish contact and connect with the real world.
Any teaching staff in college will tell you the challenge of facing unprecedented questions in class, but it is a crucial sign of learning. Don't shoot down questions or kill curiosity. Especially if you are teaching online during these covid times, be sure to check for understanding by encouraging your students to ask questions.
There are many other effective teaching strategies that you may try out.
Tips for First Time Teachers
As a teacher, you will find a lot of obstacles in your career and life, in general. But there is no reason to be disheartened. There are a few simple ways in which you can reduce your stress in school or college or otherwise, especially if you have joined as a new teaching staff. Here is how:
- Find your allies in school. Try to create a support system from amongst other teaching and non-teaching staff in the school. Share lesson plans, take feedback and advice on teaching styles, and just have fun when you just need a friend.
- Seek expert advice. It is important for you to have a mentor, who could be other teachers in your school. Pick their brains on how to make your class more effective and learning more fun for the children.
- Focus on creating your niche. As a teacher, students look for unique styles and expertise. try to build yours. This helps build your subject matter expertise, as well as get close to your students and deliver a holistic educational experience.
- Develop great classroom culture. How you behave or interact with your students, even outside the classroom, is very important in determining how you fair as a teacher. Be sure to focus on self-awareness and emphasizing building a positive and conducive culture among students.
- Try to be less controlling. Contrary to popular belief, teachers do not need to control everything that goes on in the classroom. And you definitely can't control most of the things if you are teaching online. So you need to learn to let go.
Preparing for The First Class
So, how do you prepare for that first lesson? Are there any tricks or advice? The answer is both yes and no. And the reason is simple. As a teacher, you have to approach every lesson and class as a new learning experience. So, there are no standard set of instructions or guidelines that reduces your risk of failing as a teacher. But there definitely are some tried and tested methods that can serve as useful first time teaching advice.
- Turn up in class before your students do.
- Treat your students as children and observe them carefully.
- Invest time in preparing lesson plans.
- Keep an eye for detail and try to minimize errors.
- Learn to flex your teaching style.
- Be interactive during class.
- Encourage dialogues, discourage monologues.
- Facilitate productive discussions.
- Encourage questions; let students see that you don't know it all and that's okay.
- Have your teaching aids and resources ready before class.
- Be confident, but not complacent.
- Be empathetic, and cognizant of individual student needs.
- Focus on building classroom culture from Day 1.
- Focus on enhancing learning, and not finishing the syllabus.
- Have fun!
The business of teaching can be challenging and difficult. The thought of molding little children of today into the leaders of tomorrow can be scary. But the fun lies in that, doesn't it? As the saying goes,
Today you lead the school, tomorrow your students will lead the world. - Anonymous
Yes. Teaching is and always will be one of the noblest professions there is. So, if you are feeling inspired then it is time to go out there, conquer your fears, and shape the lives of future Einsteins and Kohlis!