Raise your hand if you’re a teacher who left a professional career to pursue a career in education. Congratulations! The world needs more people like you who are willing to pay it forward.
Now, you may have the skills to command the boardroom, but what about commanding the classroom? Teenagers and young adults may be just as intimidating as presenting for the C-suite (or maybe it’s just me that thinks so). What can you do to make sure you’re set for success? How can your first year of teaching be successful when you’re still green in the field?
We have three easy-to-apply tips to help build a strong foundation with your students and make your first year of teaching a success.
Study Your Heart Out
Of course, going back to school means you’re back to hitting the books, even if you’re at the front of the classroom and not behind a desk. Educating is a professional skill, one that is refined and learned like any other skill. A crucial part of education is managing your classroom, finding ways to keep students engaged, how to be creative with new teaching styles, and more.
There are dozens of books and research papers published about how to manage classrooms, so read up and find what works best for you. You can find a fantastic list here (including the one written by our very own Ron Clark, a 2015 CERTIFIED keynote speaker).
Don’t forget about your fellow teachers. Ask them about their favorite resources. And that brings us to our next point…
Get Connected to an Expert
No one knows how to manage a classroom quite like a veteran teacher. A lot of them have gone through the issues you’re going through as a new teacher, and often have great advice on how to improve. Be open to constructive criticism from those with experience.
Invite a seasoned teacher to come and observe you in your classroom. Ask them to take notes on things you do well and things you can improve. As much as possible, try to implement their feedback within 24 hours and try it out for two weeks. This will give you time to see if the new approach works for you and your students. Educating is not a one-size-fits-all approach but be sure to give new techniques time to work before moving on.
Are you struggling to find a teacher to give you advice? We have good news for you. You can join Certiport’s CERTIFIED Educator Community and learn from some of the best CTE teachers across the country. It’s a digital forum on LinkedIn, so you can ask questions, collaborate, and connect with other educators from across the country.
Find Common Ground
Establishing solid relationships is just one part of the puzzle. Getting to know your students and gaining their trust is crucial. It can be difficult to truly get to know students in a 60-90 minute classroom session, so find ways to connect outside the classroom. Open your classroom during lunch. Volunteer to coach a sports team. Attend your students’ choir, orchestra, or band performances.
If approved by your principal, you may even want to connect with students and their families in other ways. Getting to know what their homes and families are like can help you understand their struggles and triumphs, which breaks down barriers and engenders trust.
As teachers, you shape our future. We know that that’s not an easy task. Certiport is always here to help and cheer you on. Check out our CERTIFIED Educator Community to connect with other teachers and peruse our blog for additional resources.