Tips 65: Absent Learners
Prepare for absentees, make it easy to reschedule assignments and other activities. It is a fact of life that some students will miss class, because of illness or for some other reason. So, plan ahead for something like that to happen.
I suggest having a procedure where students who were absent. They should go to the class captain to find out what work they have missed. Also, if you are doing some projects or assignments, have a way for students to make up that work. This is where it’s also very important to have clear communication lines with parents so that you can ask the parents what’s going on, or to deliver the work to the student if it’s very important.
Tip 66: Lesson Reports
Use lesson reports to monitor your teaching. Previously, I’ve told you to have a teacher journal where you write about what has happened in class during the year. Do something similar for lesson reports because some lessons are just better than others and by monitoring your teaching, you will improve much quicker.
Check what works and what doesn’t work for you. See how the students actually achieved their goals and, in this way, monitor what activities to use again in the future. Lesson reports also serve as evidence. If somebody from the department came to check on your files, you can say, “Okay, this is what happened in the lesson.” It also makes it easier for you to explain what you’re doing in the class by looking back on those reports.
Tip 67: Inclusion
Make an effort to include all students. ‘Leave no man behind,’ so that you make them feel valued. If you’ve got a large class, then it’s very easy to miss some students. Some learners are more vocal or work harder. Some are a bit more naughty, so you know them better, but in between are students that are very quiet. They are perhaps not the best students and they’re also not talkative, so it might be easy to miss them.
If you can include all students, it will make them feel valued, also other students can immediately see when you’re not doing enough for some students. By making everyone part of the lesson, asking them questions, giving them a chance to speak, you are building everyone up as a collective.
So make sure to include all your students at some point during the lesson. You can even make a note of who you’ve asked before. If you’ve got a class list, go through the class list. Make sure you ask all students questions. Check up on them. You don’t want any students to fall through the cracks.
Tip 68: Make Observations
Observe other teachers whenever you can. Absorb great ideas to use in your class. Earlier, I said that you should try to find a mentor to learn from, but you can also learn from other teachers. So ask your colleagues if you can sit in on classes. Ask them, “Listen, what is the best activity for this?” Or, “How do you do this?”
When observing other teachers, you can see how they interact with their students and learn from that. I learn something new from every other teacher. I look to see what they’re doing well, what they’re doing differently and how can I incorporate that in my own teaching.
Don’t cut yourself off from colleagues, open yourself up. So, if another teacher asks if they can observe you, welcome them to your class. That will make you a better teacher and then ask if you could check in on one of their classes.
I’ve learned new from every other teacher I’ve met or who I’ve observed, so do the same. As teachers, we have to work together. That’s the quickest way that we’re going to improve.