Being a great teacher takes a lot of work and plenty of practice. It can be demanding, frustrating and tiring to learn how to keep the interest of your students, and teaching isn’t something you can become good at overnight. However, there are some general pointers which can change your everyday ways of working, helping you to follow good teaching practices and form positive habits.
Make your pupils engage with the material which they need to learn. As the person with the knowledge and authority, it can be very easy to find yourself talking for a whole lesson, and most of your students just won’t have the attention span to concentrate fully. Get them to do some reading themselves and work in groups to discuss what they’ve learnt. This is beneficial for everybody as it incorporates lots of different ways of learning, and it’s a simple way to make pupils think more deeply about what they’re studying.
Find out about your pupils and get to know them as individuals. The better you know a class, how they work and what they enjoy, the more you can adapt your lessons to best suit their needs. Many students will also appreciate the fact that they’re able to have a conversation with you which isn’t just about schoolwork, and if you get on with them they’ll be far more receptive to what you’re teaching.
Develop your own individual teaching presence. You tend to find that the best teachers have a strong, striking presence in the classroom, which is recognised by pupils and commands their attention instantly. This doesn’t mean that you have to be imposing or intimidating – a teacher who is known for their comedy can be equally as powerful. It’s about finding what is right for you and what works.