Starting from day one, your students should get to know you, and you should get to know them. If you want to be able to relate to your class, then you need to know their interests, likes, and dislikes. For your students to feel able to approach you, and be confident in asking and answering questions, then you should open up a little too. One great way to develop relationships with your students and their parents is by asking the parents to write you a letter or email describing their child. They'll love that you care, and you will get a valuable insight into your class.
Remember That It Takes a Village
It's OK to look for help and seek ideas out. You may want to talk to other teachers in your school, or reach out to forms or twitter, but the important thing is to remember several heads are better than one. Asking for help or getting fresh ideas doesn't make you lazy or uncreative, it's absolutely the smartest thing to do, and can be a huge help and support when you need it.
Communication is Key
You need to relate to your students to engage them, and try and ensure they enjoy learning. A great way of doing that is by including humour and technology. Using internet memes to explain the rules can make them instantly memorable and more palatable. Communicating with parents can also make your life so much easier, and one great way to get off on the right foot is to make sure they have your details and can contact you with any questions or concerns. Sending your contact information in a digital format is easy to save, or in a memorable way for example a laminated book mark will let them know you're available to them.
Start With Skills
You may want to dive straight in to content, but sometimes not refreshing skills like note taking or group work can really damage your students' learning journey, and hamper their understanding and progress. While there may be some things you assume they know, holding a little refresh session on day one can be a great investment of your time that will pay off throughout the year.
Have Faith in Yourself
You are the person who can create a positive and productive classroom, and you need to trust in your ability to do this. This may mean stretching yourself and learning new things, for example most kids are really responsive to technology, so setting up a blog, Instagram account, or class website they can contribute to can really catch their attention. Using technology like YouTube videos and online games to teach can also capture their attention, and really excite them about a topic.
Start a Class Newspaper
Implementing a monthly newspaper can really reinforce all the things your students have learnt or achieved recently. This can be really inspirational, and can also be highly motivating for students who want to get a mention in the paper for doing something awesome. This has the added bonus of providing parents with an insight into their child's school life.
There will be times when teaching will be tough. Even people who relish a challenge can begin to feel a little battered by their class at some points in their career, which makes it all the more important to stop and savour the good times. Store up all of your successes, both big and small, so you can draw on your memories of the amazing times you've had when you need them. Being present will also make your class more captivating, and you'll be more aware of when you're class start drifting off and stop paying attention.
Following these tips is a great step towards ensuring a positive learning environment that your students can enjoy. A positive environment, supported by parents, is by far the most productive classroom, where your students can happily learn and progress.
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