A Teacher's Personal Blog

Archive for September, 2011

Tips to Motivate Uninterested Students

During their career, teachers face a lot of challenges but the most difficult of all is to motivate unmotivated students. There are different ways to motivate uninterested students but these methods prove to be effective only if you show patience and a lot of perseverance. Here are some tips which you can follow to encourage and inspire students to become motivated:

  • If you find an unmotivated student, welcome him/her with a classroom atmosphere that focuses on effort instead of achieving something great. Encourage unmotivated students to participate in class activities and answer the questions whether right or wrong. Let them feel that classroom is a safe and interesting place and giving wrong answers is just okay.
  • Being a teacher, try to find out causes of lack of interest and motivation. There may be some problems at home, in school or both which may be distracting for a student. Also see if student has some mental or physical issue that hinders his/her ability to stay motivated and focused.
  • Take a lot of care of unmotivated students. Try to establish goo relationship with that student and ask him/her about goals and future plans. Share your experience and mistakes you encountered when you were a student. By telling your mistakes and how you dealt with them can motivate a student a lot.
  • Do not criticize the student. Instead increase student’s self-esteem by rewarding positive and good behavior. Continue rewarding the unmotivated students for their good deeds. This will encourage them to behave positively.
  • While teaching, be enthusiastic and maintain high level of energy. Give small and positive challenges to such students to help them build confidence. Also teach them how to face an unfavorable situation and allow them to evaluate and monitor themselves.

Mistakes Made By New Teachers

Teachers have to be very careful in the beginning of their career. They have to work really hard to avoid general difficulties that can make their professional life complicated and harder. In spite of hard work, new teachers can not avoid some common mistakes. Here is a list of some common mistakes made by new teachers. Being a new teacher, you should avoid doing these mistakes:

  • New teachers always want to be most favorite teachers of their students. This wish of new teachers sometimes damages their ability to control their class. Teachers should try earning respect and appreciation of their students but by setting some limits and boundaries. Remember that you can be friendly enough to your students without becoming their friend. BE kind and caring and still remain professional.
  • New teachers often face trouble because they do not have set of rules and guidelines. This should be a teacher’s first priority. So create a set of classroom rules and behavior expectations on the very first day of class. To apply these rules, you can also give examples to students. You should make sure that students know consequences of breaking those rules.
  • New teachers also make a mistake to bring problems of school to their home. If you are also a new teacher, avoid doing this because you also need sometime to relax. There is no need to bring papers and homework to home for marking grades. Instead of it, make a schedule and act accordingly.
  • Ignoring small problems is another big mistake made by new teachers. So take care of small issues immediately with suitable response. For example, if a student is whispering during lecture, attract student’s attention and respond by making a strong eye contact or shaking your head angrily.
  • Another mistake is taking part in school “politics”. Do not become involved in it. Stay away from staff controversies and irrelevant gossips.
  • If you are new, it does not mean that you have to say YES in response to everything asked. Learn to say NO in a polite and soft way. Try to limit your responsibilities in first year of your career to concentrate on teaching a class. But do not avoid assuming important responsibilities.
  • Teachers think themselves a failure if students do not live up to their expectations. Do you think the same? Do not think like that. Rather you should understand that students in a class have varying abilities and different backgrounds. How can they all react in a same way? The best way to deal with this problem is to analyze yourself and find where you are lacking.
  • New teachers always feel hesitation while asking for help. Remember that new teachers need support and guidance from their seniors. So do not avoid asking for help.

Tips to Become a Successful Teacher

Becoming a teacher requires facing a lot of challenges. A number of training programs are there to help teachers but at last a teacher himself has to do hard work to become successful. Here I am giving some tips to become a great and successful teacher:

  • To become a good teacher, you need to be prepared and organized. If you will organize your lessons in advance, you will find it easy to convey it to your students. At the same time, students will find their lesson interesting and easy. A disorganized lecture given by a teacher is recognized at once by students and they respond to it in form of losing interest.
  • A good teacher always uses a number of ways and modes to convey what he wants to teach. Some common modes of teaching may include making a group of students. A teacher can use other ways to create interest as well. For example, different books, dance and even music can be used as a mode of teaching.
  • To become a successful teacher, you will need to be patient. Being a teacher, you may have to face criticism by parents and other teachers as well. In this case, you will require being positive towards criticism. Take it as an opportunity to make adjustments and betterments instead of taking it as a personal attack. Teacher should also accept praise and admiration graciously.
  • Show care for your students. You can do this by listening to their problems, offering a compliment, passing a smile or patting them on shoulders. This attitude of yours will create a comfortable and friendly environment and students will become more expressive. They will ask questions with confident and hence will learn new things. Attitude of care and love should also be used with parents of students as well.
  • Address your class as a whole and do not point out a single student. If you will scold a student in front of all others, he will feel embarrassed and will turn against you. If you need to scold a child directly, do it privately.
  • Sometimes classroom becomes a place of tension and anxiety especially when you teach a rigid subject. To handle such classroom situation, use a good sense of humor. Laughing or smiling occasionally decrease distress and anxiety among students. Also encourage your students to join you in this. But make sure that all this should be within discipline and integrity of a classroom.
  • A good teacher never gives up. A successful teacher always encourages his students to overcome difficulties and obstacles. Being a teacher, if you will give up, your students will also find failure as the last option.
  • You should remain positive to show every student that you are confident to do anything. As a result, your students will adopt the same attitude. Their behavioral problems will reduce and entire class will work collectively to attain goals set by you.

Useful Tips for New Math Teachers

When it comes to think about a math teacher, students always think of a strict and boring person. So starting out as a new math teacher is always nerve-racking and frightening. Math teachers find it very difficult to impress students. Here some tips are given for new math teachers. Following these tips will make it easy for you to win trust of your students:

  • Remember that every new thing seems to be scary and difficult so when you will stand up to teach math, you will be a bit scared and nervous. To overcome this situation, most of teachers try to look serious and show a frowning face. It is absolutely wrong. A frowning and serious looking teacher discourages students and makes them afraid. On the other hand, a little bit of humor can make students feel relaxed.
  • Teaching students in a light mood is necessary but at the same time you must have full control over your class. Establish class rules on the very first day instead of having problems all year long. Let your students know that what kind of behavior is acceptable in class and what will not.
  • Make groups of students during math class. Students will find it easy to learn and study math when they will have a partner with them. If this happens smoothly in class, it will create an organized class as well. At the end of term, you can also have competitions among different groups to evaluate each.
  • Try to identify general math problems your students are confronting with. Help them overcome those problems and motivate them in a positive way. If you will motivate your students, they will reward you in form of best result. For good efforts and good grades, reward students with awards or certificates.
  • Try to make lesson interesting to hold students’ attention because students may feel bored when same patterns and formulae are used every time. For making lesson more exciting, use everyday examples to teach. Be creative and allow your students to bring scrap materials from home to use in assignments and projects.  For example, for teaching metric system, ask your students to bring empty boxes and bottles from their home.
  • You should also specify a time for your rest and relaxation. If you will feel stressed, you will not be able to teach difficult concepts of math in an effective manner.

Prevention of Cheating in School

Cheating is one of the most common activities that take place in a classroom. Cheaters are found in every class and in every school. Modern gadgets like calculators, mobiles and PDA’s have made it easy for students to cheat. They now do not have to look at their neighbor student’s paper. Detection and prevention of cheating in a school is all a teacher’s responsibility. Before taking action to prevent cheating, a teacher must also know how to detect cheaters. Here are some guidelines:

  • If you are a teacher and want to detect cheaters in your class, the first thing you need to do is to watch the class carefully. You should only concentrate on all activities of students because students only cheat when they find their teacher distracted by some other work. Especially during test time, watch your students carefully.
  • You will always find cheaters’ eyes wandering here and there. Watch for such eyes and make sure all students are busy doing their own work rather than looking at their neighbor’s paper.
  • You will also need making sure that your students are not deceiving you by hiding notes and books under their desks and other books.
  • If some students are talking during test, there may be a chance that they are discussing about answers.
  • If two or more papers have the same answer to a question then it means those students have cheated. In that case, you are required investigating further.

Useful Tips for Prevention of Cheating

Different things can be done to prevent cheating in classroom. Some of the useful tips include:

  • The best thing you can do is to establish a policy in class that cheating will not be tolerated at any cost. When students will know about serious consequences of cheating, they will not even try to attempt it.
  • You can establish a no-talking policy either. Students should not be allowed to talk during a test.
  • Being a teacher, you should not leave the room when an exam or test is in progress.
  • Spread students in class so that they can not look at their peers’ papers.
  • If your classroom is congested and not spacious enough to spread students then conduct test at some other place in school like in library or school hall.
  • Students should not be allowed to keep anything with them during paper except pen or pencil.
  • Create dissimilar tests for students. Pattern of test can be the same but questions for each student should be different.
  • If you have a student who had cheated previously, do not have him/her sit near other students.
  • You can also teach moral principles and values to students to prevent and discourage cheating. For example, you can hang an “Honest is the Best Policy” poster in your classroom. This poster will also serve as a reminder to students.
  • If cheating occurs repeatedly, call student’s parents or send a letter. There should be a proper discussion between parents and teachers on this issue.

Tips to Deal with Students’ Misbehavior

Teachers, during their career, can not avoid students who misbehave. Dealing with students’ misbehavior becomes easier after knowing the reason behind it. So the best way to deal with students’ misbehavior is to understand causes of such behavior. But there are surely some other tips which can be followed to deal with a student who does not behave properly in class.

The approaches used to deal with misbehavior can be divided into three categories:

Verbal Approach

It includes warnings, threats of punishment, describing rules and use of humor.

Non-Verbal Approach

It includes gestures and facial expressions or dramatic pause that conveys a silent message to student showing nasty behavior.

Punishment

Finally, a teacher can deal with misbehavior by imposing a punishment. Punishment may include giving extra assignment, moving that pupil from his/her seat or involving another teacher.

How to Respond to Misbehavior

  • The first thing which you can do is to show patience. You should calm when warning the student. Control your anger and do not shout. If possible, talk with that student privately because students feel embarrassed when such issues are discussed in front of their peers.
  • When a student shows misbehavior, he/she anticipate your reaction. At this time, you are required doing what is unexpected.
  • You can also give that particular student a chance to assume a responsibility to correct his behavior.
  • At times, it may also prove appropriate to ignore misbehavior. But you will have to take special care while using this strategy. Ignoring a minor misbehavior may give a feeling to students that you don’t know what is going on in class. Make sure that you are using this strategy to deal with misconduct in least disruptive way.
  • For minor misbehavior, you can even use your “angry look” to warn the naughty student. Using facial expressions or eye contact to warn mischievous student is a popular technique used by teachers.
  • If you find verbal reminders and non-verbal cues useless, you can enforce a consequence. Such consequences may include exclusion from group, contacting parents, loss of privileges, detentions and visit to principal’s office. Avoid using extreme or physical punishments in this regard. Punishments unrelated to misbehavior are of no worth either.

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