If you’re just starting out in the classroom, here are some tips from a now well-seasoned teacher who wished she’d had some of this advice when beginning:
1. Take Advice, Follow Your Instincts – Getting advice from the teaching staff is key for two reasons, 1. They’ve been where you are before and may have good insights, and 2. It will help establish professional relationships, which are essential. But, at the end of the day, everyone has their own unique teaching style and should follow their gut. You’ll lose control of your classroom if you try to play the role of another teacher.
2. Dress Professionally – What does this mean exactly? Well, many beginning teachers are 22-25 years old and majority don’t look much older than their students (if teaching high school). You need to dress like a professional now which means dress pants, appropriate shirts, and nice but comfortable shoes. Ladies, don’t wear low cut shirts and revealing clothing. You want to be taken seriously by students and staff alike. Guys, no comic book tee shirts. The students won’t look at you as a superior.
3. Understand Your Role – Some teachers are more lax and friendly with their students and others are more disciplined and no-nonsense. Your own teaching style is recommended, but be sure it’s working out. If the students like you, but aren’t learning and are walking all over you, you need to toughen up. If the students are afraid to ask questions, you need to lighten up. Watching other teachers can be a monumental instrument in learning how to adjust your own teaching style.
4. Learn from Mistakes – You’ll mess up, drastically. You need to understand early on that you’ll make many mistakes and you’ll need to learn from them. Admitting these mistakes to your students may be beneficial (at times). You’ll gain their respect and make them feel more comfortable approaching you if they need extra help or really messed up in your class/or another class.
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