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Tips for Teachers

Whether you're teaching kindergarten or college, when you first start out, you want to start off on the right foot. It doesn't take long for your students to determine what type of teacher you are, and how much they can get away with. It is important to set the right impression from the beginning.

Don't panic! It's not as if they will have you figured out within the first five minutes, but you'll at least want to establish a teaching routine within the first three weeks:

#1 – Making the Transition from Summer to the New School Year

Help your students get back in the swing of things by:

  • Taking attendance, signing in, or establishing a seating chart
  • Introducing your teaching assistants
  • Laying the ground rules on absence, late work, and grading
  • Handing out an eye-catching syllabus
  • Providing students with sample test questions and answers.

Begin each class with a good amount of content and inform students how much time they will be required to study. To engage your class early on, give an assignment the first day and collect it the following day. Try to get to know your students by asking for a personal tidbit from one student each day

#2 – Get Your Students Focused

  • Greet your students at the door when they arrive
  • Start class on time
  • Give your students a pre-test on each lesson's topic
  • Begin each lesson with a puzzle or picture to give focus to the topic
  • Have students write down the important points of the lecture and review them at the end of the class

#3 – Inspire Your Students to Learn

  • Have students write out their expectations and goals for the course
  • Use different methods of presentation each class
  • Take a short break about 20 minutes into each lesson
  • Try to tie the lesson to current events
  • Tell your students about your teaching philosophy
  • Have active lessons: a 'living' demographic or a moving debate
  • Bring in guest speakers

#4 – Encourage Activel Involvement in Learning

After the first 3 weeks, it's a good idea to collect your student's feedback so you can find out if there is anything you can do to improve your teaching methods. You'd be surprised how many times students offer suggestions that a teacher never would have thought of.

  • Have students keep a journal with comments and questions about topics studied
  • Invite students to critique each other's work
  • Let students use the material they've learned to solve real problems
  • Provide a suggestion box at the back of the room
  • Allow students lots of practice before a major test
  • Assign collaborative tasks to small groups of students
  • Encourage students to bring current events items to school when they relate to your lessons
  • Provide a note card with all the important test and assignment dates listed
  • Give students regular updates about their progress

#5 – Establish a Community in the Classroom

  • Make an effort to learn everyone's names early on
  • Set up a system so students can contact each other regarding assignments
  • Take pictures of students and post them in the classroom
  • Assign a team-based project early in the semester
  • Assist students in forming study groups outside class

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