Every day in education is filled with new challenges. Similarly, everyone has their own methods for becoming a better teacher. The following tips are the result of talking to teachers and finding out how they succeed in education.
1. Be organised
A well-organised classroom is essential – but what happens in the classroom is only one aspect of teaching. From lesson planning to marking, the life of a teacher is multifaceted and hectic. Thorough, effective organisation of time and tasks is perhaps the most vital tip a teacher can take.
2. Engage in active learning
Teaching students is one thing – getting them to remember is entirely another. That’s why it’s important to engage pupils through active learning. Avoid ‘chalk and talk’. Ban ‘death by PowerPoint’. Involve and challenge students in every lesson to ensure that they’ve absorbed key information, and to help them retain it after they leave the classroom.
3. Command the classroom
Capturing and keeping the attention of a full class for up to two hours at a time can be a huge challenge. It’s important to stay in control of the classroom – ensure students stay focused by building respect, rewarding attention and managing behaviour.
4. Build positive relationships
In the average school year, a teacher can work with hundreds of students. A talent for matching names with faces is important. Beyond that, try to develop a keen understanding of each student, and so build positive working relationships based on mutual respect. They’ll be more eager to learn and less disruptive in the classroom.
5. Be secure in your subject knowledge
The key role of the teacher is that of an expert: confident in their subject knowledge. This can be challenging in itself, with primary teachers needing broad knowledge, and secondary school teachers requiring more in-depth knowledge. Beyond the curriculum, it’s important to have a passion for a subject, and to develop further knowledge, to ensure that students are getting the best education.
6. Continuously develop
Evaluating, reflecting and improving: teachers should be in control of their own development. Formal procedures and training are in place to develop careers, but a good tip is to have a clear idea of ambitions, goals and how to get there.
7. Never stop learning
Everything comes down to experience. Never be afraid to ask for advice from older, more experienced teachers – after all, a good teacher should also be a good student.
8. Plan intelligently
Lesson plans are the building blocks of good learning. So smarter planning in advance of a lesson goes a long way towards good results. Similarly, effective planning should be intelligently done – balancing pace with the challenge to maximise student engagement.
9. Inspire and invest
Everyone remembers a good teacher – those who inspired them to achieve more. What teacher wouldn’t want to be remembered like this? Combine smart planning, good student relationships and the rest of these tips to inspire students to greater things. The more time and effort invested in students’ education, the better the results.
10. Love what you do
Finally, it’s often said that teaching isn’t just a job – it’s a calling. Teaching is a tough, challenging vocation. However, it can also be hugely rewarding. By being passionate and committed to teaching, the life of a teacher can be immensely fulfilling – and can make a real difference to everyone.
Article by Matt Parker, education and private school blogger.