As a teacher, you’re likely to be a keen and strong communicator with a passion for educating others. The skill set you use will range from extreme patience, to pastoral care, to unique problem solving; all on a Monday morning. It’s an extremely demanding job role, which means it can often feel impossible to find the time to improve your performance as an educator.
Everyone wants to be the best they can be—whether for personal development, career progression, or just an outstanding work ethic; so, take on board these five ways that you can become a better teacher—and start today!
1. Take care of yourself
Students learn in energetic classrooms with vibrant teaching staff. Practical self-care activities often benefit the visual learners, whilst theory may be more comfortable for other students. Whatever subject or age you’re teaching, you’ll want to deliver the message with a genuine enthusiasm for the content, and an exhaustive knowledge of the topic: ready to tackle student queries.
To do this successfully, a diet of soda and chips won’t suffice. You’ll have to place a focus on taking care of yourself, to be the very best teacher you can be.
This could include more regular exercise, a balanced diet, regular sleep patterns, and personal self-care regimes. The hope is that these lifestyle improvements will help you to motivate students with increased productivity and energy levels.
Neglecting your needs can easily lead to burnout, which doesn’t support the ideal learning environment for your students—or an ideal working environment for you.
2. Self-reflection is a priority
Be sure to reflect regularly on the delivery, content, and accuracy of your lessons. Some course materials may be out of date, so be sure to stay up to date with your industry to avoid these mistakes. Following industry-specific journals and studies can help you build an expanded knowledge that will enable you to be the best teacher you can.
Reflecting in your mind is a great first step but be sure to get your thoughts down on paper to allow you to track your long-term progress. This will be of use when it comes to creating specific goals, which is another trait of wonderful teachers: reaching achievable and realistic milestones.
3. Learn more languages
Expand your vocabulary in an entire second, third, or fourth language to take your students to the next level. Even though you don’t need to be a language teacher, helping your students learn the basics could make your classes more inclusive for international students and provide them with a multilingual head start.
You could consider one of the language options offered at your institution to enable students enrolling in both subjects toget as much practice as possible by conversing with you. It would also allow students to explore the topic of your subject in a second language, which could increase and diversify their career opportunities in the future.
You should also consider the possibility of learning American sign language (ASL) to ensure that you can cater to deaf or hard-of-hearing students in your classes. Delivering ASL in classes of younger children regularly will also help them to pick up the language, making their classes more inclusive and providing a great foundation for learning more as they develop.
4. Improve your education
Your knowledge will have a direct correlation with your students’. So achieving a higher qualification in education will be a sure way to impart more wisdom. This is reflected in the increased training needed to teach older and more advanced students.
All teachers in the US need a bachelor’s degree to become an educator. However, some teachers progress with a graduate master’s degree to improve their salary and performance. Getting a masters in education can be affordable, flexible, and non-disruptive to your work and lifestyle when you study from home with a distance learning course!
Achieving extra qualifications has the added benefits of specialization into a particular area that interests you; therefore increasing your confidence, honing your weaknesses into strong skills, and offering the added possibility of promotion within your institution. It’s advisable to think of further education as a worthy and guaranteed investment of your time and money.
You can also take a master’s in education if you’re looking to make a career change with a honors degree in any subject, and the right experience and character. This means that if you are working in any sector, a master’s in education could get you trained, licensed, and in front of a class in as little as three years.
5. Reinforce positivity in the classroom
It can be easy to forget that for students to thrive in your classroom and absorb as much information as possible, they need praise and reassurance when they do their work correctly. This applies to performance, as well as behavior and participation.
Students learn best in stress-free classrooms with competent and confident teachers. Not being afraid to give a work-related compliment and allowing your students to associate that with a sense of “a job well done,” helps them to connect the hard work with taking pride in work quality.
It is equally important to correct students when their understanding is flawed and to encourage their persistence. Although honest criticism should never be replaced by flattery, your guidance and positivity will improve your students’ confidence in their ability to succeed, which is often the key ingredient to great grades and good student life.
A recap on Becoming a better teacher
Students with healthy, energetic teachers who motivate and inspire learn productively. So, be sure to take care of your needs.
Documented self-reflection is a great way to determine goals and track your professional progress in the long term.
Learning more languages could make your classroom drastically more inclusive and provide empathy and secondary support for students undertaking language courses.
Going back to school is a guaranteed way to increase your income, get promoted, or simply to reach your potential as an educator.
Finally, reinforcing positive student behaviors and performance can make success feel more achievable for students and increase their academic confidence—an area where many students fall short.
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