Have you just started teaching? Well, now you’re a little way into the school year, you’ve probably discovered that things aren’t quite as you imagined! Here are a handful of tips that you’ll find helpful whether you’re on track and doing things correctly or need to change direction.
You’re new, so unless you’re made of steel, you’re probably feeling nervous about exerting authority over a class full of unfamiliar faces and actually delivering on those learning objectives. But, you need to wipe those sweaty palms and stand up straight.
Project your voice, keep moving around the classroom (rather than hiding behind your desk), make eye contact and speak clearly. You’ll feel better, and your class will feel like they’re in good hands. If you’ve been letting your nerves show, consider watching a video or reading an article to pick up tips on how to can fake confidence until you really feel it.
Start as you mean to go on
Classroom behaviour is one of the biggest fears for new teachers, and understandably so! With this in mind, start as you mean to go on: set your classroom rules immediately. The classroom belongs to you, and if your students know what the expectations are right away, they’ll have some stability and structure to what can otherwise feel like quite a chaotic start to the new term.
If you haven’t laid the ground rules from the beginning, all is not lost: just sit the class down, explain what the rules are and, critically, follow through with repercussions if your new rules aren’t respected.
Take it steady
Something to bear in mind that is that the school year really is a marathon, not a sprint. You might be brimming with great ideas, lesson plans and enthusiasm, but it’s inevitable that your energy levels are going to dip as the year goes on. This certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be passionate, but just be mindful of the fact that you’ll need to pace yourself.
Get into a good routine with your planning, marking… and all the other things that teaching entails, and try to do things in your free time that make you feel rejuvenated – whether that’s going for a run, or simply relaxing in front of the television.
Make it enjoyable
Something that this teacher swears by is making lessons enjoyable. School can be boring, frustrating and sometimes even unpleasant for many children, so make sure your lessons are engaging enough that your students don’t even notice the time passing.
This might mean doing something simple, such as supplying students with stationery to make a model of whatever it is that you’ve been teaching them about (in which case, you’ll need to shop online here), or using video to get an overview of a subject in a way that’s engaging and immersive.
There are so many other great pieces of advice for new teachers, such as making the use of existing resources (including printable lesson plans, how-to guides and worksheets) rather than doubling up the time by making your own, and stopping to check comprehension mid-way through the lesson to ensure that no-one’s being left behind. But, don’t worry: You’ll soon find your feet and over the course of the year the classroom will start to feel like your kingdom.