Being a new teacher can be both overwhelming and exciting. You’re navigating a new environment of teaching and managing a classroom whilst finding ways to connect with your peers. One thing to keep in mind as you embark on this new journey is that your day-to-day in the classroom will differ, because each day will bring new challenges and experiences. For this reason, I thought I’d offer some suggestions on how to succeed and work smarter as a new teacher.
Establish rules for the classroom
Setting rules early in the year shows your students how you would like the classroom to operate. It also give them the time to understand and adjust to the rules. Keep your rules simple and fun, especially as children are used to following rules. If they’re too complex, they might ignore them. Also, it is worth mentioning that teachers are used to addressing bad behavior, but keep in mind that rewarding good behavior and applauding great work are fantastic ways to encourage and boost children’s self-esteem.
Set clear expectations
In the beginning of the year, I put a plan in motion for each student based on their assessment and needs, so I know what they need to succeed. I create clear lesson plans and, with my students, I review goals monthly. By doing so, you too can give your students a clear idea of what is going to be taught throughout the year, and regularly reviewing goals together will further motivate them to aim for higher marks.
Plan for the school year
Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to plan ahead for the school year. Regardless, I make sure all of my materials are ready in the classroom or home office. If I know which students I’ll be having, I make sure to look at the curriculum and plan out their lessons thoroughly. This ensures that I’m well-prepared for any questions that may arise in class, and it also leaves me with ample worksheets to assist them with.
Balance your teaching methods
There are different types of learners: visual, reading/writing, auditory, and kinesthetic. Your students might exhibit one type that is more dominant than the others or have a combination of all four. In a classroom of 20 students, for example, you might not know everyone’s learning styles, so I suggest having different lesson plans that adhere to different learning types. Varying your lesson plans will cater to each of your students’ strengths and develop their flexibility to learn in various ways.
Explore issues and topics beyond the textbook
In school, students learn different subjects to help them understand their skillset, which will ultimately prepare them for post-secondary education or the workplace. As a result, there isn’t much time spent on current events or values. Try to change up your lessons by spending time discussing real world events, the importance of respect, anti-bullying, diversity, inclusion, etc. This will allow them to understand how to respect and empathize with others. When a certain topic piques my interest, and I know it will also for my students, I research and prepare questions for discussions.
Be caring and empathetic
You might feel frustrated when your students don’t understand a concept you just taught or they misbehave, but remember this: every student, no matter the age, is going through their own personal or mental struggles. Being patient and empathetic strengthens their bond with you as their teacher. This helps them build trust and respect, which are so critical to a child’s development.
Lean on colleagues
Teaching can be tough with the challenges we face with our students, so it’s always good to reach out to your colleagues when you need assistance. It’s a great opportunity to establish a bond, but you can also rely on them for advice in areas you may need help with. You’d be surprised as they might even lean on you for help as well!
These are some of the tips that will undoubtedly help new and seasoned teachers. Be positive and caring with your students. Showing kindness and wearing a smile goes a long way. Giving them regular breaks from class routines is also important, so they can have more time to be creative and explore their mind and interests. At the same time, allow yourself those same number of breaks, especially as a new teacher, to rest and recharge as it will boost your confidence and productivity.