by Marneth S. Ignao
Don Lazaro Madara
No matter how many years you have been teaching, there is always room for improvement. Whether it is in how you manage your classroom, organize your time, or present interesting information with new teaching strategies, you can always enhance yourself to become a better educator.
Here are some tips for self-improvement:
1. Learn about new teaching strategies
There are loads of resources these days about new teaching strategies that you may add to your repertoire. Education journals and the Internet provide many of these strategies, their pros and cons, as well as examples of which kind of content they are best suited for. Teachthought.com, for instance, lists the following teaching strategies: alternative assessments, anchor activities, grade as you go, homework options, menus or agendas, question choices, think-pair-share, jigsaw, and think-tac-toe. These will jumpstart your brain and inspire you to pull yourself out of the rut.
2. Freshen up your content
With the explosion of the availability of information, you now have immediate access to updates in the field of study you are teaching. For instance, if you are a science educator, you can look for recent breakthroughs in science that will help keep your students keep posted. This will spark interest not only in your students, but also in yourself.
3. Amp up your technological skills
Strengthening your tech skills during your free time will help you become more productive and creative. If you have always tried to stay away from computers, perhaps now is the time to learn using one. Challenge yourself to make slide presentations or compute grades using software. Or, if you are already computer literate, try looking for new tools such as the Google Apps for Education which might help save time and effort in the long run.
4. Improve classroom management
If you notice that your class is bored, lacks focus, or is simply difficult to run, maybe it is time to improve your classroom management. Why not talk to your students about their needs and interests, stand next to rowdy students, try not lecturing for a whole period, and varying the activities? As many experts point out, students who are not actively engaged in learning will engage themselves in disruptive behavior. So, try to improve classroom management to keep them interested in learning.
5. Become more organized
A teacher has to juggle his or her time, files, and projects. However, organization often takes a backseat compared to preparing urgent reports or making lesson plans. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of organization you need to do, try setting smaller goals. For example, you have resolved to organize your time. Set aside a period for doing so. You can also try investing in a planner or a desk calendar. Furthermore, instead of writing down important information on small pieces of paper that could get lost in the clutter, try becoming disciplined by writing everything in a notebook.
Regardless of the stage you are in in your teaching career, or what time of the year it is, you can always use some improvement in the different areas of your life as an educator. Try these tips, and work not only for a better class, but also for a better self.