The Golden Rules of A Teacher (Part 5)
1. Vary your speech pattern. Use pauses or stage whispers for emphasis. Always remember to talk to the students at the furthest corner of the room. If students must strain to hear you, you will have trouble holding their attention.
2. Make your presentations clear. Use vocabulary appropriate to your students’ developmental level. Speak at a pace they can understand. If your voice tends toward the monotone, work on developing more animated speech. Periodically record or videotape your lessons. Seeing or hearing yourself as your students do may reveal areas that need improvement.
3. Remain flexible in your teaching. Read your audience and adjust accordingly. Furrowed brows and frowns will tell you that some students did not grasp a point. Squirming, fidgeting, or daydreaming may cue you to pick up the pace or change your approach. Good planning must remain flexible. There is little sense in plowing ahead with a lesson plan that isn’t working.
4. Use your sense of humor. Do not try to become a stand-up comic, but don’t be afraid to laugh or add humorous remarks to your presentation. The guiding principle for using humor in the classroom is that it should be relevant to the topic under discussion. Avoid the temptation to entertain with jokes that don’t have an educational point. Interesting lessons make learning fun, and a natural response to fun activities is the occasional laugh. You need not strive for a belly laugh, but when a humorous incident or anecdote presents itself, use it to your advantage.
5. Incorporate students’ names in your presentations. For most people their name really is their favorite sound.