HOW TO BE A GOOD TEACHER
By: Aulia Nur Hikmah
The critical need everywhere in the world is for education to prepare students to lead successful, fulfilling lives. In today’s world, this means providing them with relevant educational experiences that nurture their passions, problem-solving abilities, and higher level thinking skills, including critical thinking and creativity. The best solutions involve teachers, students, schools, and whole communities.
People think there is no longer any significance to a teacher in today’s generation because everything that a teacher can say, the internet can say. But a teacher has a significant role in the making of an individual human being, in the making of a society, a nation and the world at large. In fact, the significance of teachers has gone up manifold because the burden of delivering information has been taken away from them.
Great teachers do not only put a lot of work into their lessons and materials, they also constantly reflect on their lessons, objectives, and goals. Changing nothing and sticking with what you know will not make you a better teacher. Here are some tips on how to be a good teacher:
Be fluent and confident in the language/subject you teach
Before you can teach a language (or any other subject for that matter), you should have mastered it yourself. Only then do you truly KNOW what your students are struggling with. Being a teacher comes with the unspoken rule of always continuing your own education while you teach others as well. The more you know, the more you can pass on to your students.
There are many apps, programs, and websites out there to continue learning. If that’s too passive and you need something to hold you accountable, consider signing up for continuing education classes at online or local universities. Your district might also offer professional development opportunities or pay (partially) for any classes you take. Subscribing to education newsletters or reading the latest articles and publications in your subject area are all ways to keep up with the newest developments and become fluent in the subject matter.
Know Your Students: Their Names, Background, Interests, Learning Style
No worries if you don’t right now. There is always time to catch up and find out what matters to them. Here are some ideas to get to know your students better. The more you know about your students, the easier it will be to connect to them and understand their struggles. It will also allow you to tailor support to individual needs and include the families in such attempts. Finally, it will also make your students feel welcome, cared for, and let them know that they matter to you.
Be Passionate About The Subject You Teach
Being a teacher is more than just a profession, it's often a way of life. So you should truly love what you do every day. Did you start out being excited, passionate, and motivated but are now feeling overwhelmed and tired instead? While not all teachers experience this loss in passion, the ones that do usually blame it on factors like these:
Trying to figure out what you are struggling with is the first step. Then, try to find more information about staying positive and regaining your passion in those areas. Take the ever-changing policies, for example. While you can’t ignore them and have to adhere to them in your teaching, that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to personalize learning or have fun in your classroom. Keep the projects and lessons you love and morph them to fit the new standards instead of throwing them out the window and starting from scratch. When you are passionate about something, your students will learn a lot more. So be creative in finding a way to incorporate your passions and interests into your daily lessons. Keep having fun!
Be reachable to your students and give them a chance to connect with you
How exhausting it can be to be a teacher. And sometimes (or most times) all you want at the end of the school day is to be alone. You spend so much time with these learners (more than the average parent does with their own children!), you might not feel up to being available for one-on-one conversations. And that's okay. But try thinking about a time DURING your school day that you can be available for students that need help or simply want to tell you about their day.
Give out prizes for a "Lunch with Ms X" to students that are doing great or that you see would benefit from a personal check-in.
Have a "What Mr Y needs to know" jar on your desk. Students can leave notes in private that you can read when you have a moment. This helps you know what is going on, the students feel heard, and you have the chance to follow up with individuals when necessary.
Join your students on the playground and take a walk together. Especially the more introverted students might open up during that time because it's informal and you aren't staring at each other.
Share your email address or phone number (if you are comfortable) with students that struggle, or find a time during independent work to check in with them.