Strategies To Help New Teachers In The Classroom

If you are embarking on your first few weeks as a newly qualified teacher, no doubt it is a very exciting but challenging time. While you will of course have had plenty of advice and training already, sometimes live classroom experience brings up unexpected issues. Here are some techniques that may be helpful to get you through your first few weeks. 

Build a rapport with your students

Some teachers have been taught not to smile or seem too approachable in the classroom, but you can still build a rapport while maintaining rules and boundaries. Smiling and making eye contact eases any tension in the room, and helps you to feel calmer. Students who may have felt nervous or hostile are more likely to relax and aim to cooperate with you. 

Learn each student’s name, and try to get to know them as individuals, as this will give you a better perspective on any problems that crop up over the term time. You can be friendly, without crossing a boundary and becoming friends. If your class has some challenging behaviours, don’t take it personally: this happens to everyone at some point. 

Keep your cool and deal with adverse classroom behaviour in line with school policies, without getting anxious or letting your emotions get the better of you, as this will only make the situation worse. Remember that your own behaviour sets the tone, so if you remain calm and confident, your students will respond in turn.

Be adaptable

One of the first pieces of advice you will have been given is to plan ahead: lesson plans, classroom admin, marking, and so on. However, teaching is also about responding and adapting to what is going on around you. Even the most capable and diligent class will work at different speeds, or not evolve in line with your expectations in some way.

Avoid planning anything too rigidly, because some tasks will always take longer than you think. Be prepared to be flexible, and don’t get too worried if you don’t tick off every bullet point on your list. Once you get to know your class and teaching material better, you will find that it becomes easier to strike the right balance between detail and spontaneity. 

Make sure your class are actively involved

It can be tempting to take all the burden of teaching upon yourself, but remember it is a two-way process: the students should be actively learning in the classroom. Make sure it is not a one-sided process where you are doing all the hard work and the students are only semi-engaged. 

Encourage group work and discussions, and make the class work as hard as you are. This will ultimately benefit the students more, because they will take in and remember the material better. It will also help to stop you from becoming exhausted and burnt out, so you will have the stamina to make it through to the end of term!

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