In this article I look at sharing five best practices for your first year teaching or as pre-service teachers.
5 Best Practices for Your First Year Teaching
Note: teachers in the training stages are commonly referred to as pre-service teachers.
The advice I share comes from my own experiences gained over the years of teaching.
Click on the image below to watch a short video about five teacher essentials you will need for any classroom!
Building Confidence among Pre-service Teachers
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Teacher Identity in Education
As part of building teacher confidence, we look at teacher identities, and how teachers can recognize challenges to their teaching in any classroom
By building their confidence, teachers can also begin to build on their efficacy. Watch the video below.
Building Efficacy in Pre-service Teachers
Efficacy is the belief in one’s own abilities to perform tasks in a way that is expected and that they are happy with.
Teacher efficacy therefore, focuses on the task of connecting with students to be able to teach and inspire.
Pre-service teachers mindful of their efficacy should be able to strengthen the components we discuss as they gain experience in their teaching career.
Teacher efficacy is often the “make” or “break” factor that teachers continually face with their teaching careers.
It’s safe to admit that first year teaching is not what most expect it to be and it can be quite overwhelming and intimidating when entering the classroom for the first time.
Master Any Teaching Environment (Online vs. In-person)
First year teachers who had to begin their teaching careers teaching online were warriors ready to fight unprepared in more than one sense of the word!
However, those determined to win the battle against “learning loss” in the online environment came out on top!
There has been much debate over whether teaching online leads to “learning loss” and that it is not a teacher’s first choice when it comes to teaching.
We do not intend to go into this debate in this article, but instead focus on inspiring pre-service teachers.
Choice in life decisions is important, and now we have teachers who may prefer to consider teaching online. Others may not prefer to teach online and that should be respected.
I believe that the right teachers in education willingly make the choice to put the needs of others before their own.
This means that in which ever class environment they decide to teach, the environment should not impact on HOW they teach or WHY they teach.
If a teacher is amazing in the in-person classroom, s/he will continue to be amazing in the online classroom. It’s not the environment that makes the teacher, it’s the teacher that makes the environment.
What then makes for an “amazing” teacher in the classroom? This is the teacher that students will favor because of how valued they feel and the knowledge they gain by being in the presence of this teacher.
Five Important Teaching Points To Building Efficacy in Pre-Service Teachers
Here now are the five important points pre-services teachers need to consider when looking to build their confidence and efficacy in the classroom.
When used correctly, these points are guaranteed to allow a teacher to enjoy a happy, successful, and long-lasting teaching career.
I. Teacher attitude and Personality (It Matters)
In teaching, a good portion of our duties, roughly 40%**, is passing on the knowledge to students in order for them to succeed, however that’s not the hard part. The other 60%** is convincing them to listen to you.
**Note: The percentage statistics mentioned above are meant for entertainment purposes and not a scientific approach to teaching.
Students in today’s classroom reflect what society thinks is acceptable. You need to be aware of this as it helps in dealing with questions as well as behavior issues in today’s classroom.
A proper attitude towards convincing students to listen to what you have to say, means that your personality is one that is easy to get along with, and is willing to be funny, and transparent with students.
Comedic timing when used properly can bring much amusement, and comfort to both students and teachers in the classroom.
Teachers are human, and that means they will sometimes make mistakes. When mistakes by the teacher happen, it is better to admit it and correct the mistake, than to ignore or deny it.
Trust me, students will appreciate you more for your honesty, and will connect more to you as a teacher.
II. Teacher Readiness (Always, ALWAYS be Prepared)
“Expect the unexpected” is a phrase made popular in education, along with the phrase “take everything with a grain of salt”.
Why salt? It seems to be the “non-medical” cure for most health problems and now educational problems as well.
Formulating a plan for anything you do it is smart, and important, and teachers must admit that lesson plans do serve a purpose, which is to guide the energy needed to maintain a high and lasting interest in the topic being discussed.
However, there are times when unexpected events occur during class (say a student who vomits unexpectedly) and that means plans quickly need to change and teachers need to take a new course of action.
It may not happen, but just know that it could, and know your classroom well enough to formulate a back up plan!
This also applies to teachable moments in the class. The lesson plan you formulate is a guide, but if there is an opportunity to explore teachable moments, and how it connects to the lesson, then teachers should be encouraged to take this opportunity.
Teachable moments are usually unplanned but they come up in ways to enhance understanding or open dialogue.
III. Time Management (Be aware at all times!)
Now this is not an invitation to stare at the clock in the classroom, but from time to time be aware of how much time you allow for each activity during class.
“Is class already done?” If your students don’t want the class to end, you could count that lesson as a success!
On the other hand, if your students are constantly looking at their own clocks, or the classroom clock, or making it known that they find the class boring by asking how much time is left in the class, than, you can say that it is not a class either of you want to remember.
IV. How To Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
As a teacher, you should try not start a lesson by telling the students right away what page to turn to. By doing this, you will have already lost half their attention. Instead find interesting ways to begin your class by asking “thought provoking” questions.
If you are an economics teacher, you could start by ask a question similar to “Would you rather lose your mobile phone or your wallet?” and then go in to the lesson, keeping in mind to not let the time slip in this high energized debate.
V. Seek Support from Other Teachers
Once you get to the teacher’s staff room you can find that most teachers will offer you support in dealing students and all the other wonderful stuff that goes along with being a teacher.
We encourage you to have look and wish you the best of luck with starting your teaching career. So don’t wait check it out!
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Teaching is one career that requires constant growth in learning and adaptability. Teachers are life long learners, and those who recognize this will find that they will enjoy a long, happy, and successful career serving others.
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