Make A Difference, Become A Teacher

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It should be the goal of every school system to have their schools full of great teachers because they genuinely make a difference to their student’s lives. Far too many people ignore the role that teachers play in their pupil’s lives. Some see them as people who are paid to ensure that children learn whatever the educational system deems fit. This is a very narrow view as it does not take into account the positive influence a teacher has on the lives of young children and adolescents. After all, the teacher is the person that a child will see most besides their parents and in some instances the teacher spends as much time with their students as the child’s parents.

Education boards continuously look at a whole range of things that need to be improved in order to bring school standards up to a certain level. They look at the quality of the facilities available and the standard of the school building. The size of classrooms, general equipment and pupil to teacher ratio are also looked at. While all these are important, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the teachers themselves. The single most vital elements in any school are the educators!
Good teachers will completely change the lives of their pupils and if you feel like you are up to the task then all you have to do is ask yourself if you have what it takes. The best teachers know that their profession is all about giving. If students don’t want to learn, it is your job to find ways to get them involved in class activities. If your pupils aren’t learning then what you’re doing cannot be described as teaching. Even though students may not know that they have a great teacher, their parents probably will when their child comes home and proceeds to tell them everything they learned that day in class.

If you want to be a great teacher but feel that you don’t have the experience, fear not. Although having experience can be absolutely vital in certain situations, teacher’s training programs have advanced to the point where they are now an integral part of the life of anyone who wants to become a teacher. While there is no magic formula that will automatically turn you into a good teacher, these programs will certainly equip you with many of the tools you need to be a roaring success. Such programs are not just boring lectures of limited benefit. They provide hands on assistance where you will learn from the experiences of those already in the teaching profession.

If you love the idea of teaching but are unsure where to start, have a look at the programs available. Education boards know that the quality of the teacher is the most important part of any school and have come up with fantastic programs that will ready you for the classroom. Rather than wonder what you could be, become a great teacher and see that you can really make a difference.

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How To Help Students Who Are Victims Of Bullying

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Teachers are not just there to teach a set curriculum to students, they also have a variety of other roles in the school. One of the most important is helping to stop bullying. Those who are victims of bullying will find their academic performance diminish rapidly so a teacher needs to be able to spot those who are suffering from the wrath of other pupils. Regardless of what school you teach in, it should have a strict anti-bullying policy otherwise it can get out of control. As a teacher, it is your duty to ensure that such behavior does not carry on under your nose.

Bullying takes place in a variety of forms but it is always harmful behavior and can never be tolerated under any circumstances. The most obvious form of bullying is that of a physical nature. One student or a group of students repeatedly target a pupil and perpetrate violence against that individual. Name calling is a serious issue but is one that seems to be ignored a lot of the time. To do this ignores the emotional anguish it can cause the victim. Deliberately excluding someone from activities is another form of bullying and this is again emotionally harmful. It is important to note that bullying will continue relentlessly until it is halted. If someone can get away with such vile behavior there is no reason for them to stop it.

Those who are victims can be hard to spot but you must do your best to try and discover if a student is having trouble with their fellow pupils. If you notice that a student of yours has suddenly become more withdrawn and refuses to participate in activities that they used to then this is a sure sign that they are experiencing bullying. It is rare for a victim to voluntarily tell a teacher what the issue is for fear for repercussions so it is up to you to gently coax it out of them.

Once you have successfully got to the root of the problem you must confront the bully. Make it clear that a continuation of such behavior will see them expelled. Be sure to make the victim feel safe by promising and delivering protection from the bully who is now angry that their treatment of the victim is out in the open. Ensure that you spend some time with the victim before allowing them back into their peer group. Isolate the bully from their usual environment so that they know their punishment includes exclusion. This should work wonders because all bullies seek attention more than anything. Yet it is crucial that you don’t push the bully away. They should be allowed return to their peer group with the understanding that they must improve their behavior.

Placing the bully in some sort of mediation program is a great way to modify their attitude. This lets them know that their actions are genuinely harmful and if they see the damage it does to the victim they may change their behavior in time. No matter what else you do, you absolutely must give fully support to the victim and don’t brush the whole incident under the carpet. Your students need your protection when they are within school walls otherwise their performance will drop and the whole classroom will suffer.

General Advice For Teachers

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As a teacher you probably have a whole host of advice being tossed your way during the course of your career. Non-teachers seem to be the biggest culprits as they tell you how they think you should do your job. All you can do is smile politely as they give you their two cents worth and make classic generalizations about the job you love. It is important however not to ignore all the advice that comes your way, especially that which comes from more experienced teachers. No teacher knows everything about the profession when they start but you will learn things as you get more experienced and it never hurts to keep your ears open when good advice does come your way.

One of the best methods of teaching in order to maximize the impact of your lessons is to divide all sections into small, easily digestible chunks for your students to devour. Throwing too much information at them is not conducive for easy learning. Also, you should never assess your students on the basis of one or two exams or assignments. Try and give them constant assignments so you will easily be able to identify which students are hard working and which are slacking off. Those who are not doing the requisite work will quickly realize that they cannot have their own way.

Don’t deliver your lectures from a static position. You don’t have to be a jack in the box but teachers that move around will increase the attention span of students. This movement should include frequent trips towards the back of the class which should keep those who think they can get some shut-eye back there on their toes! You should occasionally stop at a random student’s desk and make eye contact with them before asking if they understand what you’re saying. Students who have a propensity to doodle or pass notes will suddenly realize that they do this no longer. It is also much better for a student to have their teacher close to them rather than way off into the distance.

You don’t need an array of additional tools at your disposal to make an interesting class but do try and include other ways of communicating with your students besides your voice and the blackboard. Try using a projector with powerpoint slides or else a video could be utilized to help illustrate your points. This is part of making your class fun and should be accentuated by you laughing and smiling throughout. This will make you seem like the kind of person that students are willing to listen to rather than some ogre who growls at them all the time.

So pay no attention to the teaching expert who has never set foot in a classroom as the sole focus of attention and actively seek advice of those who know what it’s like to stand in front of a group of children and be expected to deliver interesting, informative lessons. Finding out new ways to teach can be fun and rewarding for both you and your class.

How Teachers Should Handle Their Student’s Parents

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It is only the naïve new teachers that really think that parents will be on their side. They make the mistake of using logic in their thinking. They believe that parents will want what is best for their children and will help the teacher improve their child’s academic performance. Yet they fail to take into account a number of factors. First of all, parents are not cut from the same cloth and sadly, not all of them care about their child’s school activities. Then you have the whole ‘parents protecting their young’ issue which is not only confined to the animal kingdom. Here are a couple of different scenarios and tips on how to deal with them.

You will have the parents that are defensive and refuse to believe that their child is responsible for any ill behavior. They explain that their son/daughter is an angel at home and that you must have some sort of agenda, that perhaps you are jealous of their child and are out to get them. When dealing with such people, it is important not to allow emotions to get involved. Instead, explain to them specific examples of their child’s poor behavior/performance and let them come to their own conclusions. Even though you like having your own teaching style, when it comes to parents you must always follow the school line, so refer to their child’s grades and rules as policies.

Then you will have the parent who is forever checking up on their child’s progress. They harass you with calls, bombard you with emails and generally, take up far too much of your time. The problem is, the more you give in to their demands on your time, the more they will expect off you. Remember that you have many other students to deal with who also need and deserve your attention. With this in mind, keep your responses to a minimum and ensure that they are short and succinct. You are obligated to keep in touch with them but once a week is more than enough. Always save your correspondence too so that you have it on record that you spent plenty of time discussing their child with them in case they want to complain.

Unfortunately, you also have the parents who just don’t give a damn for one reason or another. It is normally these parents who are the ones you need to talk to the most. If a child is being neglected at home, then their academic performance usually suffers. You cannot get involved in domestic affairs and all you can do is send them a letter which you should document. Of course if you feel that the child is being abused at home then you need to seek advice. Otherwise though, parent absenteeism has nothing to do with you.

Teachers who once thought meetings with parents would be a bed of roses learn to dread them. However, they can still be a very useful way of ensuring that your class is keeping up to speed as good parents will be very concerned with their children’s performance. Such parents can be a pleasure to deal with and could even give new insights into the student that may help you understand them better.

How To Combat Cheating In The Classroom

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While teachers loathe examinations almost as much as students due to the enormous amount of paperwork involved when it comes time to correct them, they are a necessary part of assessment as are various in-class assignments and essays. Unfortunately, more and more students would rather cheat on their exams and copy their essays off friends rather than do the requisite work. This is done for several reasons: some are just too lazy, others feel under pressure due to unrealistic demands placed on them and yet more feel that they are unable to successfully complete the assignments and get a passing grade. Whatever the reason, you need to be vigilant as cheating does no one any favors.

In the old days, it was exceedingly difficult to find out whether a student was copying their essay from someone else as everything was hand written. While this is still done in some schools, you are much better off making your students write out their assignments on a computer. The reason for this is that you can then use a Plagiarism Detection Service to find out whether many hands have been making light work. Turnitin.com is just one of the many sites that catches plagiarism by showing up similarities between student’s work. They can also be used to ensure that the pupils have not plagiarized the work off famous writers.

You may notice that when it comes to final exams, all halls are watertight in terms of security. Although you cannot monitor your students in the same manner during less important tests, you can still use one or two of their devices. One of the most obvious is to ban all cellphones and other electronic equipment in the room. Force all students to hand over their phones and if anyone is caught with it during the exam, throw them out of the room and give them a big fat zero mark. Technology also enables students to use tiny headphones and listen to notes which they have recorded.

If a student is desperate enough to cheat they will find other ways to do so. With the electronic method unavailable, they will instead resort to old school ways. This includes writing notes on a variety of different objects. They can use chewing gum wrappers, the desk, even their hands! During the course of the exam you need to be on constant alert. Pace up and down between the desk aisles frequently, keeping an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Also, don’t allow a student to go to the bathroom by themselves. Notes are ridiculously easy to conceal and it would only take a few seconds to jog their memory with the aid of a sheet of paper in the toilet. Incidentally, you should also check the bathroom itself for notes, you never know!

Cheating is a blight on education but there will always be those who attempt to do it. The thing is, cheaters will always eventually get caught and they will never amount to anything because as exams get more important, security gets tighter and they won’t have the opportunity to cheat. As a teacher, you need to drum the importance of honest study into your class so that they shed any cheating habits they might have in their infancy.

Controlling Your Classroom IV

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In this final installment of controlling your classroom, you will learn more methods of dealing with bad behavior in your classroom. The previous editions covered everything from dictators to bullies but no amount of literature can prepare you for such events until they happen. Although reading a manual telling you what to do can prepare you in some way, it cannot give you the courage and judgment to handle the problem, this is something that you will just have to learn on the job. Never be afraid to ask for advice from more experienced teachers too. In a well run school, the teachers should constantly be there for one another before you go once more into the breach.

It is certainly a test of your patience when a student saunters into the class twenty minutes late. By this stage, you have got into something of a rhythm with your lesson and this tardy individual brings your momentum crashing to a halt. Although you would love to halt the entire class and show up the latecomer, it is best to wait until afterwards so that you can get straight back into teaching. Deal with the issue after class and always start your teaching at the correct time regardless of who is missing. It is their responsibility to be on time, not yours. If you really want to instill some punctuality into them, maybe you could make them the leader of the class so that they have to be there on time. Then again, you could always threaten to punish the whole group for this individual’s tardiness. Having their class against them will soon make them mend their ways.

The ‘popular’ kids who try and show that they are cool by playing up in class need to be taken down a peg or two. They are the ones who will make sarcastic, insulting remarks when you’re trying to teach the class. Their aim is to get a rise out of their audience, the classroom, whilst making you look bad. This cannot be tolerated and don’t be afraid to punish them in front of their adoring fans. This is not to say that you should humiliate them per se, but you have to let the class know that these people are not ‘cool’ and that you’re in charge. Handing them a spell of detention may cool their jets.

Finally, we have the famous ‘teacher’s pet’. Even though there are sure to be students who you have taken a shine to because of their work ethic and high standards, you must be seen not to have favorites. You will also be helping them because ‘teacher’s pets’ are prime targets for bullies. Inform them that they don’t have to openly curry favor by sucking up to them because their academic performance is more than enough. Don’t make eye contact when they try and grab your attention in class and ensure that you never single them out for praise on a consistent basis.

So there we have it. It would be folly to suggest that this is a comprehensive guide to dealing with every situation that happens in a classroom but it is a good starting point for those who have set out on the teaching road. Over the years, you will develop your own teaching style and hopefully this will be enough to defend you from the slings and arrows of outrageous student behavior!

Controlling Your Classroom III

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Disruption in the classroom is detrimental to the performance of all your students. This in turn, reflects badly on you as a teacher. If you are unable to successfully carry out the school’s curriculum, then serious questions will be asked about your tenure. It is unfair that a few bad apples can ruin your job but that’s the way it is. So, it is paramount that you retain control in a calm professional manner. After all, losing your temper is almost as bad as losing control of your classroom. No one said that teaching was fair!

We all know the situation: one student interrupts either you or another student, then someone else joins in. Before you know it, the whole class is in uproar and you have a tough job on your hands restoring order. Besides being extremely rude, having the whole class talking together is a terrible reflection on you because you are supposed to be able to keep everyone in check. When such a situation occurs, stamp your authority on proceedings by telling everyone that they need to wait their turn before they speak. Tell them to come up with ideas to either build on or challenge the previous speaker. Also, don’t allow anyone to speak unless they put up their hand, it’s important to teach your class to be polite.

Although being verbally interrupted by an angry student is irritating in the extreme, pupils that manage to disrupt the class via non-verbal means are downright infuriating. They sit in their chair and shake their head in a demonstrative manner or else they roll their eyes as you speak. The first thing you can do to counteract this is to completely ignore them, focusing on the student that is speaking. Alternatively, and this is probably a better method of dealing with it, you should announce to the class that this person disagrees with what is being said and ask them if they would like to interject. This places the emphasis on them and they will not enjoy having the spotlight shone firmly on them.

No list of disruptors would be complete without the student who continuously interrupts everyone else. Instant action is needed, so tell them to be silent until the speaker has concluded their statement. After classes, take them aside and explain how their behavior is unacceptable and it needs to stop. Advise them to take a sheet of paper and a pen and write down all their ideas. When the person has stopped speaking, then can then tell the class what it is they’re thinking. This is an excellent skill and one that will serve them well in later life.

The above are yet another set of problems that will face any teacher, but experienced ones will have no difficulty dealing with them. The final article will discuss one more set of problems and offer solutions. Learning how to deal with such situations now rather than later is essential if you wish to become successful in the teaching profession.

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