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Be a Good Teacher

Being a good teacher can be the most rewarding and exciting job in the world - however, being a teacher that doesn't work effectively can be ...

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Be a Good Teacher

Being a good teacher can be the most rewarding and exciting job in the world - however, being a teacher that doesn't work effectively can be stressful, painful, and exhausting. Here are some great tips to being the best teacher you can be.

edit Classroom Management

Have a classroom management plan. Before we can discuss lesson planning or ideas to engage the students, it is essential to have an adequate plan for classroom management. So the first step is to make a classroom management plan. If you don't like the one provided here; feel at liberty to make your own, but you must have one. You must realize that classroom management comes first.

  1. Set the example. The first principle in classroom management is to realize that you have to set a good example for the students. This means you have to be like a superhero in their eyes. You have to act supremely confident and in control at all times. You don't want to appear "only human". Students, and kids, need someone they can lean on, look up to, have confidence and trust in. They need like a superhero figure to look up to in the classroom.
  2. Have well defined consequences. You need to have specific consequences for breaking the rules. You need to decide what those consequences are, and then implement them consistently. Your consequences should follow a procedure that starts with a non-verbal signal (such as just looking at the student), to a verbal signal (asking the student to please stop talking), to a verbal warning (if this continues there will be consequences), to the implementation of the consequence (please come to talk to me after class), and then, after class when it is just you two, you implement the consequence. The consequences are up to you and depend on the program of the school. Many schools have a detention system (students do despise detentions), or perhaps writing lines, or sitting away from other students. Having a solid consequences plan is essential to classroom management.
  3. Have some compassion for the students. In spite of the harder approach outlined above, you still have to have a heart and soul in the classroom, and the students should be aware of it.
  4. Set some ground rules. You should have 3-5 rules that the students know about. These are the rules that, when broken, are subject to the consequence scheme outlined above. Some might be:
    • "Be quiet when the teacher is talking.
    • Respect each other.
    • Complete the homework and class work."

One technique you could use is allowing the class to suggest the ground rules: have a class discussion, write ideas on a flipchart and get everyone to sign it; it makes the class feel they are listened to and that you care about their opinions and input while also setting some groundwork that they will feel loyal to because they've made it.

edit Lesson Planning

  1. Have a solid plan for your lessons. Each and every lesson should be divided into three simple parts.
    • The first part is when all the students are sitting at their desks, and simply listening to you. This is the "lecture" part of the lesson, and involves you basically teaching the class something, and the students listening or raising their hands to answer specific questions. This is the you-teaching-them part.
    • The second part of every lesson should be where they get together in small groups of 2-4 students to work on something. It may be when they read through the textbook and take some notes, or the groups brainstorm an opinion on something. Anything that involves a collective group work element where students can work with whoever they want. Near the end of this part, you can have a discussion session where groups voice their findings/opinions, and give marks for adequate participation.
    • The final part of every lesson should be where the students return to their seats and work QUIETLY on one final task, such as answering specific questions written on the board, or drawing a picture related to something they learned that lesson. The students should only talk to you (if they have a question about what/how to do it) or the person sitting directly next to them. This is the wind-down part where students get a chance to work on their own.
  2. Have an objective. When you are planning a lesson, the most vital part is the objective. You have to look deep inside yourself and find what you REALLY want the students to take from that lesson. If the objective is superficial, the lesson will feel superficial. If the objective is powerful, deep, and reflects what you really want students to learn, it will be reflected in the lesson.
  3. After you are finished the objective, you have to plan for the three separate parts outlined in the previous section. What you/the students do in these three parts should "spring" or arise from your objective. It is what you/they do to meet that objective you set out.
  4. Your lesson plans should have the date, a title, the objective, and then the three parts of the lesson outlined above (part for listening to your lesson, part for group/partner work, part for individual work).

edit Expansions on Lesson Planning

  1. At the beginning of each lesson the date and title should be written clearly on the board. If the students need to take notes that lesson, then they should ALWAYS copy the date and title into their notebooks.
  2. Homework: Rather than assigning something different every night, it is wise to assign one or two more substantial assignments on Monday and then collect these assignments on Friday.
  3. Quizzes: You may want to have a quiz every Friday to assess how well the students are grasping everything.

edit Tips

  • Teaching really isn't a difficult job - if you follow these indicators and apply them with skill. However, it becomes one of the most difficult jobs in history if you don't have effective classroom management.
  • It cannot be emphasized enough: You should have a detailed classroom management scheme that you carry with you along with your lesson plans. This classroom management plan should be open so that you can see it while you're looking at your lesson plan. On that classroom management page you need to have a plan for how to deal with their behaviour/misbehaviour. I have outlined what works well for me: (1) Being like a "superhero" figure so they trust and respect you, (2) Having a detailed outline of consequences for breaking rules, and (3)having some compassion.
  • You need to have some distance from your students, particularly for the first 2 weeks of the term.
  • If you cannot keep a professional distance from your students, it is because YOU have the need to relate to them on a more personal level, probably because you're lacking that somewhere in your more personal life. It is YOUR responsibility to recognize this and deal with it. Relating to students personally (being chummy with them) is almost always for your sake, not theirs. They DON'T WANT you to relate to them that way -they want you to be a real, strong, "big" person they can look up to and trust completely.
  • It is also worth mentioning for a second time that your lesson objectives are essential in planning your lesson. But don't just write anything that comes to mind for your objective. Your objective should come from "deep inside you". It should be what you genuinely feel and think they ought to learn from the lesson. Then, as you are planning the stages of your lesson, those stages should spring from how best to meet the lesson's objective.
  • Your evaluation (ie tests and quizzes) should be formed based on the original objective. It should evaluate how well the students met the objectives you set out when planning your lessons.
  • You should be at least 1-2 weeks ahead in terms of your lesson plans.
  • It is never too late to start to implement these tips and ideas.

edit Warnings

  • It bears mentioning again, if you are relating to students on a highly personal level, and are not keeping a professional distance that allows you to be a figure to look up to and depend on - you are doing this because you lack that personal relation somewhere else in your life. Go out and find some friends your own age or get on a more intimate relationship with your husband or wife (or find a girlfriend or boyfriend). The students are not there for that kind of relationship, they need someone they can look UP to, not be chummy or friendly with.