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Teaching tips for new teachers

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 11 January 2022, 12:00 SAST
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The first day as a teacher in any school or a classroom might have you feeling excited and anxious all at the same time. You can never be fully prepared for this experience and especially if it is your first year being an educator. Even the experienced teachers feel anxious, facing new students and challenges at the beginning of every school year. Take a deep breath, take in your surrounding and remind yourself of all you have done to get to this point, a successful start. Here are some tips to help you make a positive start and have an impact on your students: 

Welcoming your students.

1. Arrive early. The earlier the better, this will give you time to absorb the environment and help calm your nerves a little.

2. Write your name on the board so that the students can learn it right away as they walk into your classroom.

3. Smile at your students and greet them enthusiastically as they walk into the classroom. This will help break the tension of uncertainty. 

4. Having a fun activity laid out on each student's desk so students can help stimulate engagement as they settle into the classroom. Another great idea to try out is to have an activity that will promote learners to all work together as a class, this is indirectly helping learners to form relationships with each other.  

5. Invite students to find their desks or table as soon as they arrive. They can wait to explore the classroom. This helps you create a good working climate right away.

Get to know your students.
6. Have some ice-breaking tasks and activities to put everyone at ease. Have students write a three-part definition of themselves that encompasses physical attributes, personality traits, and interests. Write a definition for yourself to help guide them and the outcome that you wish to achieve. Give each student a chance to share their definition, be sure to create a safe space by first sharing your definition. 

7. Create a pleasant environment and ease students' fears and anxieties by reading or sharing stories.

Establish rules and routines
8. Introduce the important features of your classroom with a tour or a special hunt.

9. Present important classroom routines in a positive way. Explain and give students a chance to practice such routines.

10. Work with students to develop classroom rules.

11. Post a general schedule for lunch, music, physical education, recess, and classwork. Emphasize and teach the routines that will help students move into these periods quickly and efficiently. Remember, they won't learn it all in a day. So, continue to emphasize and practice classroom routines for the first few weeks.

12. Have a daily schedule stating academic goals for the day.

13. Start with simple academic activities such as short reviews that guarantee a high success rate. This will boost the confidence of your students and ease their fears. 

14. Monitor and maintain constant contact with students and their parents. Never leave students unattended. In an emergency, try and get another teacher or adult to monitor students.

Reinforce positive behaviour
15. Address behaviour problems when they occur. Offer a lot of positive reinforcement for students picking up on routines quickly.

16. Generate interest and enthusiasm through exciting new topics. 

17. Issue out books and discuss their care.

18. Indicate what is accessible and what is off-limits to students. 

Try to make a good impression, your first-day class activities should involve all of your students in ways that allow them to be successful. This way you will be seen as caring and focused on creating a stimulating environment for all your students.

Source: Scholastic

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