An educator’s capacity to teach efficiently is directly related to their ability to control their classroom — this is one thing I am utterly confident about. It does not matter whether you are a new teacher or an experienced educator; the fact remains that your failures or successes are eventually dependent on your talent for keeping control of your class. It is particularly true of high school and middle school students who are at critical developmental milestones that will profoundly affect how they communicate as adults. This is not to say that there aren’t outside factors, but it all begins with the teachers themselves when it comes down to whether a teacher is at their best.
Here are ten simple steps to becoming an excellent teacher and helping your learners realize life goals:
- Don’t be Messy- If you are disorganized, your students will be too. Learning needs focus, an educational plan, and time management. How do you think a learner views you when he sees you hunting last minute for the day’s lesson plan? Show your pupils that success is not created on “winging it”. Set a good example and you will get more favorable results.
- Creativity– If you are teaching a lesson plan straight from the book, the kids will lose interest. A truly excellent teacher knows how to creatively communicate the message to relate to the realities and contemporary events of his/her students.
- Distractions must cease to exist – Sometimes, this means removing a pupil for a little private chat, sometimes you have to exclude them entirely, and other times it is as easy as shutting the classroom door or closing the blinds on the windows. Make a habit of examining internal and external distractions and adjust accordingly. Every kid deserves to have a positive learning environment.
- Rules are important – Setting ground rules does not mean you have to be a boss; it just means that you have to be a good leader. Stick the rules on a wall as a notice to students who have a tough time with discipline — or even as a reminder for yourself. Concentrate on good management and try not to veer from your rules. It may sound harsh, but the structure is the foundation for development and optimal growth. I realize some of you want to “connect” with your students and be ‘cool’, but this is not the place to do that. You are still their teacher, first and foremost. You can connect within the structure of your class in other means.
- Be a Good leader – Being a good leader is not just making sure the regulations and procedures are being followed. It also means you know how to assign responsibilities and when to make reservations. Providing your students with small obligations and allowing them to help you establishes trust and forms an excellent student/teacher rapport.
- Consistency — Consistency goes hand in hand with adhering to your ground rules. A “B” should be a “B” and should be an “F” should be an “F”. You make the rules; you keep them. If you feel there are extenuating factors, it is your right to stretch the boundaries you have created so long as they apply to everyone.
- Being Personal helps – Find out what children are interested in, not just what is trendy. Everyone wants to feel important. Take the time to enjoy a little one-on-one conversation with each student just before or after class. This will help you to gauge your students’ interests and allow you to find some common ground. Let them know that they matter. It only takes a minute to connect, and it can profoundly affect how they view you.
- Always Respect them — Always remember that for every rule that is made, it is also made to be broken. Whether a kid breaks a rule or not, never humiliate them publicly in class. If a student is a real problem, take the time to address them individually.
- Realize Information Overload — Every now and then, your kids may shut down. Even when you are one of the “best of the best” in your classroom, this unavoidably leads to chaos. Have an alternative lesson for these days. Have a little fun, make it stress-free, and take a break. Start fresh next day.
- Principals are not scary – The principal of your school is your ally. If you feel like you are hitting a roadblock, don’t be scared to ask a seasoned teacher or principal for ideas. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on it, which does not mean you need a babysitter. It merely means you understand the importance of being your best and being prepared. It can be as easy as asking what resource or website they recommend for solving your distinct challenge. Your success is an excellent reflection of how well they are doing their jobs. They are more willing to lend a hand than you think.
There is always so much to learn, but if you stick to these ten steps, you will be well on your way to making a permanent and positive impression on your students’ lives.