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How To Be The Best Teacher You Can Be

Being a teacher is, for many people, so much more than just having a job that you go to every day, do, and go home again without thinking too much about it. Being a teacher is, for many people, more of a calling or vocation, and that makes it so much more special, and yet potentially so much more difficult than many other career choices. 

The fact is that teachers play a crucial role in shaping the minds and futures of the next generation, and to be the best teacher you can be means looking at every aspect of what’s required of you and ensuring you do whatever it takes – within reason, of course. It’s all too easy for teachers to burn out and become exhausted when they’re trying to help the kids in their charge, and when that happens, they won’t be able to help anyone as they’ll be too unwell. So there is, of course, a fine line to draw, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to be the best teacher you can be at all times. With that in mind, here are some of the things to do that will help you achieve that goal for you and the children you teach. 

Keep Learning

One thing to bear in mind about the best teachers is that they’re lifelong learners – they love learning (which makes sense) and they put in the effort to keep learning and gaining more and more knowledge, even after they’ve qualified as teachers and can head into a classroom to do their job. 

The reason why this is so important is that teaching is always changing. There will be new methods, technology, and plenty of research is always happening to find out how children learn best and which are the right ways to go about giving them information. In other words, you never know everything as a teacher, even if you’ve been doing it for decades, and if you ever think you’ve finished learning, the harsh reality is that you’re wrong! 

Plus, it’s not just about learning about teaching and the subject you specialize in (assuming there is one). You can learn about anything and everything – it’s about keeping yourself stimulated and ensuring that you learn in the same ways the kids in your class do (it’s the best way to know what you’re doing is the right thing). So whatever it is you find interesting, take a course in it, watch a video, read some blogs or books about it, or even get a formal qualification if you want to (online learning means you can do that at your own pace, so it shouldn’t interfere with your teaching job), and it’s sure to help you – it might even inspire you when it comes to teaching your own class. 

Build Strong Relationships 

If you want to be the best teacher you can be, there are other things you can do as well, and one that’s truly important and that can make a massive amount of difference in your students’ lives is to build strong relationships with them. When you can connect with your students on a personal level (being careful with what you tell them and what you ask, of course – you’re still a teacher at the end of the day, and you must keep things professional), you can get to know them well, and you’ll understand more about their interests, strengths, challenges, and inspirations, for example. 

The best way to start this is to show them genuine care and empathy and make sure they know you can be there for them when they need you – let them know they can talk to you if they’re having trouble or, conversely, if they’re happy and want to express that happiness (it’s good to share good news, after all). 

If you can build strong relationships, you’ll find your students trust you more and you’ll be able to create a fantastically supportive environment for learning where students feel happy to gain knowledge, and where they feel valued and motivated to do their best, even when things are hard. 

Set High Expectations 

Something else that helps teachers become the best version of themselves possible is having belief in the potential of their students – if you can show you believe in them, they’ll believe in themselves too, and that can make all the difference when it comes to pushing themselves and achieving more (possibly more than they ever thought they would). It’s your job to challenge them so that they always aim for excellence, and make sure you provide all the necessary support they need to help them reach their goals – and your expectations. 

When students know how much you believe in what they can do and their abilities, they’re much more likely to rise to the occasion and not only reach their goals but very often go right past them as well. 

It won’t always be easy to persuade your students that you believe in them, especially if they’re used to not doing too well academically, but that’s the challenge to set for yourself; find out what it is they’re best at and work on that first before moving onto other things – their believe in themselves will help those other things get better anyway. 

Be Flexible and Adaptive 

As a teacher, you’ll soon realize that every student is utterly unique, and they’ll all have different learning styles, abilities, and needs. As a teacher, it’s vital to be flexible and adaptive in the way you teach so that everyone in your class has the same chance. You need to be willing to modify your lesson plans, teaching methods, and really any kind of strategy you bring into the classroom. 

The more adaptive you can be, the better your students will do, plus it means that everyone gets a chance to try different learning styles – they might even find something that suits them better, even if they didn’t realize they could. You could use a nervous system worksheet, for example, followed by a video, or perhaps it would be better to use a textbook to solidify the learning. Maybe something practical would be ideal. There are just so many options that you’ll always be able to have backup plans in place for when you notice one or more of your students is struggling to keep up, and that’s the important thing – be ready to change, and be sure to spot the signs that you need to. 

Make The Classroom A Positive Place To Be

If kids are happy in their classroom, they’ll be much more able to take in the information you’re teaching them. They need to be comfortable, contented, and relaxed (although not too relaxed as they do need to focus on your lessons!), and it’s down to you to ensure that your classroom is like this – it will definitely help your students and it will give you another way to be the best teacher you can be. 

To start with, you need to quickly put rules in place about behavior and what you expect from the kids in your care – and those rules need to be gently but consistently reinforced. You need everyone to behave well so that no one gets distracted or disrupted or finds the classroom isn’t such a safe space after all. 

You also need to make the classroom feel comfortable, so make sure there’s enough light (and ideally as much natural light as possible), have colorful images and information up on the walls, and keep the whole place clean and tidy. A good working environment will help students concentrate more, which is exactly what you want. 

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