You’re determined to make your next semester your most successful yet as an educator. Good for you! How can you become a rockstar teacher?
To become the kind of teacher you wanted growing up, think back to what you loved most about school. Chances are, you had at least one teacher who inspired you with creative lessons. More than what you learned, you probably remember their kindness and example. Here’s how you can become that type of remarkable educator for your students.
Certain times of the school year are more challenging than others when it comes to student engagement. However, when you make time to plan, you can design creative lessons that get learners involved even when the holidays or the end of the year approaches. Remember the passion and excitement you felt when you created your first lesson? Try to recapture that each week as you sit down to plan your material. Ask yourself questions like, “How can I present this information in a way that makes it meaningful?”
When you were in school, chances are, a failing grade as a failing grade. However, developments in psychology indicate that students perform better when you focus upon their successes, not their imperfections. Adopting a growth mindset as an educator fuels achievement.
If a student identified four out of ten vocabulary terms correctly, for example, an “old-school” grade would count that as failing. This harsh score makes the student think, “I’m not good at spelling.” Compare this to praising students for the terms they did get correct. The questions the student answered inaccurately become opportunities for growth, not reason to despair.
Students want educators who they can emulate — even if they’d never admit to it out loud. They look to adults who can influence their lives positively through gentle guidance. They also need reassurance that the wold is a caring and safe place. While you need to use good judgment when teaching morality, you should behave in a manner that shows good conscience to your students. Tell the truth — this practice helps to establish trust. Speak respectfully to everyone, even when they misbehave or do things that frustrate you.
One of the greatest things about working in education is the way that you can always learn new tricks. Welcome opportunities for professional development, as these give you the chance to collaborate with your colleagues. You can seek out a mentor to help you elevate your career to the next level. Be sure to thank them for their kindness by sharing your great ideas, too.
As a teacher, you need to obtain a specific number of continuing education credits to maintain your license. However, even if you didn’t, you can’t expect your students to embrace lifelong learning unless you make it a habit yourself. Fortunately, the wonders of the internet make learning more effortless than ever. You don’t have to enroll in another degree program — you can find free or low-cost online classes in everything from computer science to Renaissance poetry.
Sometimes, teachers spend the majority of their time lecturing. However, research indicates students learn best through experiential learning — by getting their hands dirty. Instead of waxing poetically about your favorite author’s writing style, let your students try to imitate it. Yes, you need some lecture time to introduce new concepts, but make student involvement the meat of your lesson planning, not a side dish.
Students come in a beautiful rainbow of colors. They also have interesting perspectives based on their culture and religious upbringing. Some children are talented artists, while others can run like the wind — everyone has unique and diverse ability levels.
Embrace learners from all backgrounds, even those that are very different from yours. Practice inclusion by designing classroom activities that enable all students to participate, even those with physical or mental challenges.
Students want teachers to be approachable and kind. However, you don’t want to form close friendships with students due to the problems that could arise. If you get overly friendly with your students, they will challenge your authority and take consequences personally when you apply them. Engage in light, friendly banter with all your students. Don’t, however, confide personal information, such as relationship woes, with them.
Finally, bring your passion with you every day. Yes, everyone has those days when they feel under the weather or less-than-enthusiastic. As much as possible, though, try to hide these feelings. Keep a warm smile on your face — chances are, once you start smiling more, you’ll feel happier inside. If you visibly enjoy teaching, you can rest assured that your students will feel engaged.
Yes, you can become the teacher of the year. Use the tips above to make the coming semester the most successful one yet.