Teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers in the world. You have the opportunity to help young minds expand and grow. You also get to help young people discover their interests and realize their full potential.
But teaching isn’t just about your students’ growth. Your professional and growth matter too. Progressing in your career will require you to challenge yourself and improve your teaching expertise on an ongoing basis. Here are some ways to get started.
Professional Development Resources for Teachers
There are tons of great teaching resources out there for educators who want to become better at their craft. Podcasts are great if you’ve got a commute, while others learn better by cracking a book or even taking advantage of free webinars.
It’s a good idea to seek out resources of different types. Study different teaching methods and learn tips and tricks from your peers. There’s a wealth of online support for free, and books or podcasts offer a great way to fit professional development into your busy schedule.
Diversity & Structural Inequality Training
Inequality within the school system has been obvious for many years, but many educators still don’t realize how deeply structural issues affect students in marginalized groups. Getting training on these issues is crucial for ensuring that you are giving your best to every student in your classroom.
Classrooms are more diverse than ever and it’s important that teachers understand how diversity affects students’ experience, both positively and negatively. Diversity in the classroom is beneficial for kids’ development overall, but it can also be hard on students from minority groups, who may experience racism and other forms of discrimination from students and even their teachers.
Teachers need to be aware of their own biases and be willing to confront them. Seeking out training materials on these topics is a good way to start that process and improve your ability to manage and celebrate diversity in your classroom.
Engage Your Students – Speak to Them Personally & Celebrate Small Accomplishments
Learning is all about engagement. Getting students excited about the material will help them learn and retain information much more easily. Spark their curiosity and make learning fun!
It’s also important to engage your students as individuals. Speak to them personally and get to know their likes and dislikes. Help them by celebrating small accomplishments, especially in subjects they tend to struggle with.
Being enthusiastic and willing to get to know each student individually will go a long way toward creating a more engaging classroom. Kids thrive on attention and positive reinforcement!
Make Your Expectations Clear
Some students struggle when the learning plan is too loose. Clear expectations can help them focus on the learning goals and make meaningful progress. When the plan or purpose of an assignment isn’t clear, many students will lose interest and struggle with learning new material. No one likes busy work!
Goals can be important motivators. You can use them to help your students feel a sense of accomplishment, but they can also create structure and expectations that will help you engage your class. Striking the right balance between challenging and manageable is always the most difficult aspect of goal-setting, so it may take some practice to get it right!
Let Your Curiosity Lead You in Your Course as Well
As a teacher, you should always try to spark your students’ curiosity to get them excited about learning. But do you give yourself permission to stay curious? Many teachers get caught up in the day-to-day work and forget their love of learning and sense of curiosity.
Give yourself a chance to get curious. When approaching professional development, go down any rabbit hole that interests you. You deserve to have fun as you learn! That’s a lesson for both you and your students that will pay off over and over again.