Deciding to take the leap and go into teaching is probably one of the most rewarding career decisions that anyone can make. Whilst it isn’t an easy option, anyone who feels they have a rapport with people – whether it’s young toddlers or adults who want to brush up on their basic skills or learn a new subject – can make a great teacher.
It’s true to say that the first year can seem daunting and nerve wracking, but following a few simple guidelines and hints can really help to make all the difference.
Make the First Year Count
Entering the world of teaching means being dedicated to a lifelong commitment to learning. The more professional development that can be gained, both while undertaking training and afterwards, the better. Seek to get as much practical experience as possible and watch how other teachers operate to pick up hints and tips on how to deal with every aspect of the teaching experience.
A first-year teacher needs a good, reliable mentor to help them through the crucial early stages. Picking someone who is experienced and has been in the very same position themselves can be a real boon in helping to make everything easier.
It may seem an obvious statement to make, but putting the students first is paramount. Get to know them to understand their needs and requirements, but at the same time recognise the student/teacher boundary which must be in place. Planning lessons and making timetables should be an exercise which puts the student at the heart of it. Question every plan to see if it meets the students’ needs and is able to keep them focussed and engaged.
There will be times when things will go wrong or not according to plan. A lesson that seemed great on paper might just not work when put into practice. It’s a learning curve for everyone, so don’t worry too much if something isn’t successful the first time. Making alterations and adjustments to plans is all part of the process and really helps to develop good critical and analytical skills, which are essential in teaching. However, don’t let mistakes get you down. If one thing doesn’t succeed, just try again another way. Be positive in the approach you take.
It’s always good to keep abreast of all the latest technological advances in teaching and find ways to implement them in lesson planning. Making sure lessons are interactive will keep students focussed and alert. These days, classrooms and study areas are planned meticulously to get the best from students. Science labs and suites for teaching subjects such as technology are produced using the best in laboratory design guidance, meaning that the latest innovations are already to hand, which should make lesson planning much easier.
Above all, set some achievable goals but try not to become too comfortable with lessons. It’s always best to add new elements into them to make sure that year after year the same plans don’t come out with little thought for new, creative ways of teaching. Keep up the commitment to try new things and keep your teaching fresh.
This article has been written and contributed by Zoe on behalf of Innova Solutions.