As a teacher, you’re likely to be a keen and strong communicator with a passion for educating others. The skills set you use will range from extreme patience to pastoral care, to unique problem solving; all on a Monday morning. It’s an extremely demanding job role. This means it can often feel impossible to find the time to actually become a better teacher!
Everyone wants to be the best they can be – whether for personal development, career progression, or just an outstanding work ethic; so, take on board these five ways that you can become a better teacher – and start today!
(Don’t worry if your job title isn’t ‘teacher’ or ‘instructor’, no matter what role you’re in, you’re likely teaching and learning every day! These tips are for you whether you’re teaching children in a classroom or a row of suits in a boardroom!)
Take care of yourself, first
Students learn in energetic classrooms with vibrant teaching staff – whether that be through a webinar, zoom call, or a literal classroom. Practical activities often benefit the visual learners, whilst theory may be more comfortable for other students. Whatever subject or age you’re teaching, you’ll want to deliver the message with a genuine enthusiasm for the content, and an exhaustive knowledge of the topic: ready to tackle student queries.
To do this successfully, a diet of soda and chips may not be sustainable. You’ll have to place a focus on taking care of yourself, to be the very best teacher you can be.
Neglecting your needs can easily lead to burnout, which doesn’t support the ideal learning environment for your students – or an ideal working environment for you.
Self-reflection as a priority
Be sure to reflect regularly on the delivery, content, and accuracy of your lessons. Some course materials may be out of date, or the results proved otherwise; be sure to stay up to date with your sector to avoid these mistakes. Following industry-specific journals and studies can help you build an expanded knowledge that will enable you to be the best teacher you can!
Reflecting in your mind is a great first step but be sure to get your thoughts down on paper to allow you to track your long-term progress. This will be of use when it comes to creating specific goals, which is another trait of wonderful teachers: achievable and realistic milestones.
Expand your vocab
Try expanding your vocab by just one word per day, and for bonus points use that word or teach it to your students or collegaues. Use the WOTD app to get auto-generated suggestions based on your current knowledge!
Expand your vocabulary in an entire second, third, or fourth language to take your students to the next level. Even though you don’t need to be a language teacher, helping your students learn the basics could make your classes more inclusive for international students and provide them with a multilingual head start.
You should also consider the possibility of learning a sign language to ensure that you can cater to deaf or hard-of-hearing students in your classes. Delivering sign language in classes of younger children regularly will also help them to pick up the language, making their classes more inclusive and providing a great foundation for learning more as they develop.
Get more qualified
Your knowledge will have a direct correlation with your students’, so achieving a higher qualification will be guaranteed to impart more wisdom. This is reflected in the increased training needed to teach older and more advanced students.
Achieving extra qualifications has the added benefits of specialisation in to a particular area that interests you, increasing your confidence, honing your weaknesses into strong skills, and the added possibility of promotion within your institution. It’s advisable to think of further education as a worthy and guaranteed investment of your time and money, and help is available should your budget not cover your course!
Make other resources available to your students
Have you considered creating a monthly email newsletter for your students? It could contain industry-specific news, extra-credit tasks, upcoming events, and local opportunities. Alternatively, consider creating a blog where discussion between yourself, your students, and even potential students is encouraged. This could give you a wider reach; allowing you to train people in other parts of the world!
Ensure positive vibes in your teaching space
Don’t forget that for students to thrive in your classroom, they need praise and reassurance when things are done correctly. This applies to performance, as well as behavior and general participation.
Students learn best in stress-free classrooms with competent and confident teachers. Don’t be afraid to give a work-related compliment. This helps students to connect their hard work with taking pride in work quality.
It is equally important to correct students when their understanding is flawed and to encourage their persistence. Although honest criticism should never be replaced by flattery, your positivity will improve your students’ confidence in their ability. This is often the key ingredient to great grades and good student life.
No matter what you’re teaching it’s often said that storytelling is a great way to communicate your point. And it’s true. Telling a story helps to provide a visual and a comparison to something the recipient is already familiar with. A great way to do this is with metaphors. They deepen the reading experience and intensely engage the imagination with meaningful word choices and strong relatability.
Students with healthy, energetic teachers who motivate and inspire them, learn productively. So, follow these tips to become a better teacher:
Be sure to take care of your needs before you do anything else!
Documented self-reflection is a great way to determine goals and track your professional progress in the long term.
Learn more languages and expand your vocabulary! This could make your classroom more inclusive and provide empathy and secondary support for students undertaking language courses.
Going back to school is guaranteed to increase your income, win promotions, or simply reach your potential as an educator.
Make other resources available to your students – online is the best way to get the widest reach!
Reinforcing positive student behaviors and performance can make success feel more achievable for students and increase their academic confidence.
Finally, use storytelling and metaphors to communicate your point! This will hit them on an emotional level and back up your point!
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