Sunday, December 06, 2009

Guest Post: Top 10 Ways for New Teachers to Connect With Your Students

I love my job, but if anyone were to ask me what I would have wanted to do if I could not make it as a writer, my answer would have been teaching. It’s a profession that is both noble and fulfilling. It enables you to retain your youth even as the years pass you by because of your constant exposure to young minds; it keeps your brain sharp because you have to continuously update your knowledge; and it gives you a sense of purpose because you’re able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many young people.

I remember a handful of teachers from high school that made a great impact on me with the way they approached life and their job. It was because of them and the rapport they shared with all the students that I aspired to become a teacher myself. Teaching is one of the best jobs there is, and if you’re a teacher, here are the best ways to connect with your students.

  1. Treat your work as more than just a job and interact with your students like you would with your kids.
  2. Be more than just a teacher who teaches them the subject and more of a mentor who teaches them how to approach life.
  3. Always make it a point to praise in public and reprimand in private.
  4. Never play favorites, no matter how special some children may seem to you.
  5. Make your classes more interesting and fun by going off the beaten track. One of my favorite Math teachers used her son as a tool to teach us the basics of algebra. To get us to understand that the positive and negative signs changed on crossing the equal sign, she would tell us how her son would become the daughter she always wanted by crossing the magic bridge, and how he would turn back to her son once he crossed back to the original side. Believe me, I loved algebra more than any other subject that year.
  6. Allow them to broaden their general knowledge through extra-curricular pursuits instead of keeping their noses to the grindstone all day. A favorite teacher would allow us to read magazines that had some educational value for 10 minutes of her class. She would then ask us to share this knowledge with the class in the days that followed. This exercise not only broadened our knowledge but also improved our communication and public-speaking skills considerably.
  7. Never read from the textbook in class. Be prepared with your lesson so that you explain it to your class instead of reciting from memory.
  8. Make eye contact with all your students instead of staring at the far wall. It makes them feel you are talking personally to them.
  9. Encourage your students to ask relevant questions and answer them to the best of your ability.
  10. And finally, be magnanimous and humble enough to admit when you’ve made a mistake and are wrong. Students value teachers who are smart and who are not full of themselves.

This guest post is contributed by Nancy Simmons, who writes on the topic of online science degree . She welcomes your comments at her email address:

Interested in guest posting? Drop me an email with your ideas for a topic. I'm always looking to publish guest posts with excellent tips for teachers!

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