Becoming a teacher (tips) – By Andy T

I have been a classroom teacher for many years. Through the years I have worked in a number of schools and worked with many different teachers and colleagues. This has enabled me to develop my own style of teaching, adopting good techniques and avoiding some precarious ones. As a new teacher, you will be looking at a style of teaching that best suits you. Your style will reflect your personality, your mannerisms and the way you connect with your students. When I first started I was unsure… should I be Passive or strict? Will I be easy going or a task master? Am I going to be shouter or a talker? Will I be a classroom joker or a mister serious? Finding your feet isn’t always natural and generally takes time. The more you are in a classroom, teaching, the more you will find out where you fit! You will get to know pupils’ behaviour, as a class and as individuals. You will get to know children’s personalities, what makes them happy, what makes them inspired to learn. I have made a list of a few things that I believe make a good teacher. Please feel free to have a read, and at the end, leave a comment or add your own interpretations.

 

What makes a good teacher?

Here are a few ideas that I have picked up over the years… I hope they are helpful ;0)

Great subject knowledge… if you know nothing about music or very little except Ed Sheeran‚Äôs last two hits, you are going to struggle!! Students need a teacher that knows their subject and can learn from them. I could not give a lecture on accountancy, and I do not know the correct ratio of sand to cement when laying crazy paving!! But I do know about music and want to share that passion of the subject with young minds. Music is a massive subject and every music teacher will have areas of expertise whether it be classical music, world music, digital music, performance or something else. But there are fundamentals in all areas of music that are exactly the same such as standard notation, terminology, practice and performance. All knowledge that music teachers need to be equipped with before entering the classroom.

Good explaining Again, subject knowledge is the key to this. How can the children be sure of what you are explaining if you are unsure yourself?! Go over your lesson content and objectives… make sure you understand ‘inside out’ what you are teaching! Be prepared for a student throwing a question at you to test your subject knowledge!!! Can you answer positively and correctly??? Student respect depends on it!!

Keeping a cool head… So many times I have seen teachers give the hairdryer treatment. Shouting at a student has no more of an affect than talking quietly to a student. The only difference is that you end your day with a sore throat and a headache‚Ķ not to mention the thoughts that keep you awake at night, wondering if it was actually correct to shout at a child. Speak to a child in a soft manor. Explain where they have made a mistake. Offer an option of correcting it for the future. Children may not be adults, but they still have feelings!!!

Bringing humour to the classroom… Children love humour in the classroom. If a teacher can bring a touch of humour and playfulness into the classroom, children often tend to see you as a teacher in a lighter heart. This builds better teacher pupil relationships. Be Careful!!… Although it‚Äôs nice to have a joke with your students, they are not your buddies!!! Be professional. Keep jokes clean and respectful, DO NOT have a joke at another pupil‚Äôs expense. The emotional damage you could do to a child, embarrassing them in front of the class, is unthinkable!!! We are here not only to teach them, but to protect them!!!

Playing a fair game Use your discretion. A good teacher has the ability to determine the right thing to do in situations and act on impulse. Always try and give the benefit of the doubt, offer choices to a child if they misbehave, and above all, Be Fair! Listen to both sides of a story before judging. Think before acting… use common sense! If a child is generally tricky, look for the positives in that child, praise them, encourage them, and nurture them!!!

Raising the Bar… every good teacher wants their students to be the best that they can be. Any teacher that doesn‚Äôt want that for their students shouldn‚Äôt be teaching!! Set the behaviour standards and academic expectations high. Remind the children that they are working to a very high standard both behaviourally and academically. Only the best behaviour will do and only the best attitude to learning is to be expected. Test the children, push the children (in a positive way), challenge the children academically. Follow questions with more questions‚Ķ obviously not in an interrogation sense, but what you are doing is getting an answer and a reason for that answer‚Ķ you are taking the students answers and raising the bar!!!

Organisation Messy teacher, messy classroom! Teachers that arrive into a classroom late, no matter how long they have known the class for, often struggle to get the children’s attention. This is due to the late arrival that has disturbed the children’s everyday routine and put them on edge… Be Punctual! The amount of times (when I first began teaching) I have looked at the clock and seen that I have run out of time (end of lesson) and quickly had to pack everything away and dismiss the children before my next lesson begins. Manage your classroom time effectively!! Plan your lessons, allocate time sections for each part of your lesson, try and stick to them. Starter 5mins, game 5mins, explain 5mins, main part one 10mins, main part two 10mins… and so on. Lessons broken up like this run smoother and breaking lessons up into chunks make them run at a nice pace… thus making them less boring for the children.

Change like the weather… Ever noticed how your class listen and behave brilliantly on a Monday morning, but the same class is restless and edgy on a Friday afternoon?? The children, just like us teachers, get tired. They have busy days too, and so as teachers, we need to acknowledge this as a factor within our teaching. The children will be noisy and restless after an hour of lunchtime play. What can we do to settle them ready to begin the lesson? What calms them down? A listening exercise of some sort, or reading time for a few minutes generally works well. WET PLAY!!! Ahhhhhh!! What teacher doesn’t hate those two words? The children have been stuck in the classroom throughout break time and lunch, and haven’t had a chance to let off steam and burn off any of that excess energy. Again, as teachers, we have to take this into consideration. Do not get angry with the children if they are unsettled… Nobody likes to be stuck in all day!! I am still curious as to why windy days seem to make my children misbehave more than normal?? A good teacher will take all the points mentions into consideration and adjust accordingly. Change when the children change, Keep your calm, keep control, and above all… ENJOY IT!!! If you are not enjoying teaching then my advice is do not teach!! An unhappy teacher delivers below par lessons… this is because the teacher has no desire or passion to be there. The class will pick up on this straight away. Show the class that you want to be there!!! If you want to teach them, if you are happy to teach them, they will be happy to learn!!!

Please feel free to add to these tips or to leave comments

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