7 Possible Ways You Can Be a Better Teacher

English Lesson Notes for Junior Secondary

7 Possible Ways You Can Be a Better Teacher

While some are born teachers, others are taught how to teach. Regardless of the category you fit in, you can be a better teacher if you observe the seven points listed below:
7 Possible Ways You Can Be a Better Teacher 
1. Respect Your Students
Respect goes a long way. When you respect your students, they’re more likely to respect you. A class dynamic of mutual respect is second to none.  Classes with mutual respect allow for more effective learning and teaching. Here are some ideas for creating a respectful space: learn about their culture, ask them what they need help with, be open with them about their progress, help them set goals, ask them about their likes and dislikes and, above all, smile. I do these with my students all the time, and do you know what? They are always to confident to tell me anything, whether good or bad.

2. Don’t be Afraid of Assessments
Assessments are important and informative. The key here is that we don’t want to go overboard. There is no such thing as too much assessment, and the way you approach assessments can make all the difference in your students' attitude towards them. Good teachers assess their students on a daily basis. Assessment can be informal or formal. The informal assessments are the ones you witness, but do not have physical evidence of. Informal assessment is mostly oral in nature. It includes oral presentations in class, interviews (like a question-and-answer session) and visual observation. With informal assessments, you can witness what students are doing in real time to guide the lesson to where it needs to be to meet your goal. Formal assessments (also known as pen-and-paper) give us actual evidence as to where students are and help us inform future instruction. The mid-term test and end of term examination are examples of formal assessment. And this is what most teachers do.

One trick is to make assessments an everyday normal part of class. As a teacher, you should let your students know that assessments are not a big deal, but as their teacher you need to know where they are so you can see how they're growing and help them grow further. Without assessments, we are lost as to what our students need. Once you give a "pre assessment," you can continue to give the same assessment every few weeks, or months to continue showing progress.

3. Let Students Teach
They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it. If your students are not understanding a particular topic or material, strategically group them, and allow those that understand to teach those that don’t. This is beneficial for both groups. Teaching reaffirms what they know and gives them more confidence. Learning from peers allows them to get instruction in a different perspective and level.

4. Practice Self Care
Take care of yourself outside of class in order to be fit for the next day's tasks. Get enough rest, drink water, eat your vegetables. All those things that you should be doing anyway will really go far and give you the energy to be the best teacher you are capable of being. Don’t underestimate the power of self care.

5. Don’t Plan Too Much
It’s so easy to get carried away and plan way too much. We have all done this. In an effort to teach as many points as possible, you plan way too much and end up rushing through the entire class. The next thing you know class is over and you’re left feeling confused about what just happened. Instead of trying to fit every little thing into one lesson, break up one topic into smaller parts. Teaching should only be a small part of class. For the most part, you want your class to have adequate practice time, and instead of teaching, you should become a “coach.” Unfortunately, most teachers spend the most part of the allocated time teaching the theoretical aspect of the lesson, paying less attention to the practical aspect. I think the popular saying, "Practice makes perfect," should always be your motto.

6. Get Your Planning System in Check
All teachers should have a planning system in check for lessons. If you don’t already have a system, get one! It will organize your life and make your teaching more intentional and effective.

There are many ways that you can setup your plans, but you should use whatever is the quickest and works for you. Some ideas you may want to include are: notes, objectives, language targets, list of activities, and worksheets.

An important thing to remember when setting up your planning system is to get a binder (or organize it in computer folders) to save for the future. Your lessons will become more developed as the years go by.

7. Redefine Your Teaching Philosophy
Most teachers have explored their teaching philosophy at one point or another in their career. If it’s been awhile since you’ve done this, I suggest you redefine your philosophy as you may have learnt a bit more about your personal teaching style in the time since you last defined your philosophy. To some, this may seem like a minor detail, but it can actually be quite helpful. Knowing and understanding your teaching philosophy will help inform how you conduct your class. Also, if anyone ever asks, you will be confident in your answer. If you’re having trouble getting started, you can simply search for “how to write a teaching philosophy” or “teaching philosophy statement examples” on Google to find some information on the internet. Also, you can write a general philosophy on your teaching practices as well as philosophies on planning, student growth, management, homework, attendance, etc.

In sum, teaching is the most important profession of all the professions in the world because teachers are builders of lives. They make the doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, linguists, architects, etc. Therefore, never hesitate to give your students your best (if you are a teacher) regardless of the pay.

Source: The Teaching Revolution