The Golden Rules of A Teacher (Part 1)
1. Learning begins before class starts. Challenge yourself to devise creative ways to capture students’ attention and engage their minds the moment they enter the room. Every day plan to have something available related to the day’s topic to arouse curiosity and stimulate thinking before the bell rings. Examples: a quotation on the board or overhead, a word puzzle for individuals or groups to complete, a couple of thought questions, a startling statistic, a related cartoon.
2. Get the class actively involved in the lesson’s first three minutes. This might be through raising their hands in response to a question related to the day’s lesson (for example, “How many have ever visited a dairy farm?”), participating in a small-group brainstorm, or writing a response. Strive to create an atmosphere of active involvement, not passive listening, early in the class period.
3. Plan carefully and fully. Lessons that are run smoothly keep students’ attention and minimize interruptions. This has little to do with charisma. Lessons run smoothly because they are carefully planned and organized. Time is invested up front to assure that materials are ready, the teacher knows what to do next, and the unexpected is anticipated. This helps create a businesslike, task-oriented atmosphere.
4. Clarify the specific objective(s) for each lesson. The single most important question you can ask yourself each day is “What do I want my students to learn from this class?” Unfortunately, some teachers have no clearer notion of where they are headed than “to make it through the textbook”.
5. Share your objectives with your students. Let them know what they should get out of this lesson. Of course, you cannot tell them if you don’t know yourself. With purposes clear and instruction systematic, students will more readily master that lesson.
The Golden Rules of A Teacher (Part 2)