Tip 29: Embrace Silence
Don’t fear silence, embrace it! This is a mistake I made when I first started teaching. The students were very quiet those first couple of weeks and I thought they’re so cute and shy. I actually motivated them to talk more. At first, it was just a couple of sentences between students and they would chat a little bit, but then the noise grew louder and louder and it became very difficult to manage them.
So, if you have a classroom, and the students are quiet, embrace it. Don’t get them to talk unless it’s part of an activity. It doesn’t mean that you should have silence throughout your entire class, it just means there’s a time for everything. When students are busy with their own work, it should be quiet, but when they are busy with their activities or in groups, there should be more noise because they should discuss things, but when they’re busy with their own work, keep it quiet and get used to that silence.
Tip 30: Time Management
Be organized and be in control of your time management. You have many things to do as a teacher, so it is vitally important that you stay in control of your time management. What the duration of certain activities will be, how much time do the students need to complete a task.
You have to be in control of that at all times; it is very important to be organized. Have your files together, have your planning right. Know exactly where everything is and when you have to do what. Have your bell times also scheduled, so you know when things will happen. The worst thing is if you’re rushing with an activity to get it finished because you didn’t plan for the time it will take.
Tip 31: Explain Goals
Explain goals clearly and be transparent with your objectives. Let students know exactly what you expect of them, what you want them to achieve. So, at the start of the year, tell them what goals you have for them. At the start of an activity, tell them that’s what they’re going to do, that is what you want them to achieve, and then at the start of class or a lesson, tell the students exactly what you will do that day.
Some teachers suggest you should keep things a surprise, but that is not how people work. We like to know what we have to do. It’s the same with doing presentations; when you start your presentation, you tell the audience exactly what you’re going to do so that they know where they are and when things will end. It’s the same with your students; when you start your class, or your lesson, or your activity, tell the students: “Listen, this is our objective. I want you to reach it by doing this.” This way, they are clear on what work they will do and what is needed.
Tip 32: Group Work
Use group projects and partner activities. Make learning a social experience. We should not do learning in isolation, so if you have an opportunity, let students work together. Let them question their partners. It is your responsibility as a teacher to raise these students as citizens. It means that you’re going to teach your subject, but you also want them to be social and communicate with each other. So, use group projects and partner activities where they can discuss things. They can ask each other questions and they can also learn other skills besides the subject. They can learn social skills which will improve them as people.