One of the hardest and probably the most crucial parts of any successful teaching journey is the beginning. As a multifaceted job, teaching requires a lot of considerations and skills from teachers in order to meet and satisfy the needs of diverse, 21st century learners.
This could be quite overwhelming most especially on the part of new teachers. I remember how lost I was during my first year of teaching. I was bombarded with tons of questions in mind concerning classroom management, teaching methodologies, instructional materials, and even the type of personality that I should build as a teacher.
So, to help newbies in the teaching force out there, here are some tips that I personally think are essential for a successful teaching journey.
Be a 21st Century Teacher
Gone are the days when the teacher “spoonfeeds” his students with all information they need to know. Gone are the days when teachers are totally isolated with the use of books and the chalkboard for monotonous and boring classroom discussions.
You need to bear in mind that in this modern day and age, the needs and interests of learners have also upgraded. As a 21st century educator, you need to go out of the box! Develop a learner-centered approach to teaching where the students themselves discover learning on their own. Utilize media and modern technologies in instruction (e.g. computers, OHPs, television, etc.) for they greatly help in getting the interest of your learners to learn.
Note: A 21st century teacher is a risk-taker. Have a vision of what you want and what technology can achieve to be able to identify your goals and facilitate learning.
Break the Wall!
Most students are afraid to reach out to their teachers whenever they need help. They have a mindset that a distance between them and their teachers should always be kept in any situation. Break the wall! Be willing to develop a strong teacher-student relationship where your students can freely open up to you most particularly with their problems and difficulties in learning.
Being their second parent in school, you need to show them that you are eager to know them more. Encourage them to get to know you, too. Since you play a big role in their student-life, building a strong and harmonious bond with your students would significantly help them to learn and grow.
Important: Involve your students’ parents with their school life. Making them your partners in the educational pursuit of their children will not only help you support your students’ moral and emotional needs but also their success in school.
Form a Mentor-Mentee Relationship
“Learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.” – Dwight Eisenhower
I strongly believe that the most effective way to become the best teacher that you could possibly be is by learning from experienced teachers. While it is true that it is a little bit awkward to ask for assistance considering that you are a new teacher, it is without a doubt a paramount help to learn from your experienced co-teachers for this will enable you to broaden your concepts and knowledge about techniques and methodologies in teaching as well as the ways on how you could improve your craft as an educator.
In forming a good mentor-mentee relationship, it is important to find a mentor who could help you achieve your goals as a teacher. You need to ask yourself what kind of a teacher do you want to be. Look for someone who has been where you want to go and someone who will expand your perspective and grow your understanding of your profession.
Be Open for Feedbacks
When you’re working with a pool of experienced colleagues around you, it is inevitable to receive feedbacks, comments, and suggestions. Don’t be so down when you’re given one. It’s there for your own improvement. Accept feedbacks wholeheartedly and grab the opportunity to grow.
Be Engaged with Professional Development
Learning is a lifelong process.
As a new teacher, it is vital to attend professional development programs through seminars, workshops, or conferences. Of course you don’t want to be left behind and outdated, do you? Being engaged with such programs can be of great help in discovering new trends both in teaching and learning.
If you are too preoccupied doing lesson plans, instructional materials/resources, and other stuffs, you may participate in online conferences or webinars in the comfort of your home. No excuses, teachers!
Blog and Bond
I believe you have already heard about blogs. And what I mean when I say blogging is putting your experiences, dear teachers, into writing and sharing it in an online community. This isn’t any different from journal writing. The only thing is… you create your own blog, post your reflections or experiences online, and hear a word from people in the same community who might be reading your blogs.
Blogging can also help you gain answers to your questions online and you might even get solutions for your difficulties about teaching from the people who share the same problems.
In line with blogging, you may also create chatrooms in social media (just like what I did with my students) like Messenger for example and build a community of students where they could communicate and learn collaboratively.
“Am I in the right job?”
“Am I on the right career path?”
“Do I really want to be a teacher?”
“Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?”
These are questions that you need to ask yourself RIGHT NOW if you really want to survive and be successful in your journey as a teacher. You have to make sure that teaching is really your thing and that is the job that you’re most passionate about.
What happens when I teach without passion? Well, you’ll most definitely fail to achieve the goal of teaching – that is, learning.
Working hard for what we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. Make sure you’re on the right track!
Give Yourself Some “Me Time”
No matter how passionate you are about teaching, do not deprive yourself of the things that fuel up your motivation and interest to go to work. Teaching is obviously a stressful and demanding job. Take a break. Since you’re facing your students at least five times a week, you can’t afford having annoying wrinkles on your face, right?
Some of the things that you can do to make the most out of your precious free time may include reading your favorite novel, gardening, going to the cinema, shopping, baking, or just simply hitting the sack with your loved ones.
Learn how to balance your work and personal life to keep you going with a fresh, positive outlook at all times.
I hope that these tips could somehow help you on your exciting journey as a teacher.
If you have more tips in mind that you think would be very useful to educators, please feel free to share them with us and help our teachers grow more.
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