FIVE Strategies New Teachers Learn FAST


My student teachers in the Secondary Teaching Education Program at UBC Okanagan have just completed their first full week in the classrooms.  Their reflections on what they  learned last week have already highlighted some key aspects of good teaching practice.  The strategies that they discovered to be essential were worth repeating, so I  decided to compile their thoughts and share them.   Here’s the top five:

1.    Know Them . . . One by One

Get to know the students’ names a.s.a.p.  Everything goes smoother when you can call on a student using their name.  While you’re working at learning them, a seating plan is extremely useful and having one on hand is a lifesaver for any teacher who has to step in as a substitute.

Knowing something about them like their favorite sport or pastime can also make a difference in developing good rapport. When the opportunity is there, take the time to ask or comment on their unique skills, abilities and interests; this will help to achieve their respect and cooperation.

2.    State the Obvious . . . then Say it Again 

Even if it seems like common sense, assume nothing and tell students as clearly as possible every aspect of what they are expected to do.  Check for understanding and clarification before allowing them to start an activity or move around the room.

It may seem repetitious, but it’s beneficial to ‘tell them what they are going to do, tell them what they are doing, and then tell them what they did.’  This helps them to see the purpose and progressive nature of the plan for the class and their learning.

3.    Organize . . . Everything

A system of organization is needed for lesson plans, for unit plans, for hand-outs, for absent students’ handouts, for assignments turned in, for assignments marked, for assignments not marked, for graded assignments not yet recorded. . . . yikes!  The paper trail is endless! It ‘s essential to be able to find what you need when you need it.  Develop or borrow a system that makes sense and works.

4.    Start Strong . . . Finish Well

Getting the attention of the class at the start is not always an easy thing to do, yet it is important to do it well.  How the class begins sets the tone for later.  Expert teachers tend to do it so well, their strategy might be overlooked, but taking note of what works for them and adopting a personal version of that is the best way to tackle this challenge.

Allowing the bell to end the class leaves students without closure.  Whenever possible, it helps to recap the lesson, clarify homework, or simply comment on the topic of the day  (tell them what they did!) and set them up for next class.

5.  Discipline . . . on the Side

A common reason for inappropriate behavior in class often stems from a student’s desire to get attention.  When the teacher disciplines that student in front of everyone, the bad behavior is actually getting positive reinforcement.  Whenever possible, it is preferable to speak to the students one on one, or on the side, so that a purposeful conversation about the bad behavior can take place.  The best way to handle interruptions during a lesson, is to tell the student that they must stay after class for a private conversation.  This may cause some concern on the student’s part and end the disruptive behavior.

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About kbarnstable

Education Consultant
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One Response to FIVE Strategies New Teachers Learn FAST

  1. You have some valuable posts here. I will share your blog with my students here in the UAE.

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