Walk – And Other Tips for New and Student TeachersWith the beginning of the school year, new and student teachers may be feeling overwhelmed. I have worked with student teachers for nearly 10 years as a college supervisor, and these easy-to-implement ideas are culled from suggestions I have made to enhance my students’ teaching abilities and overall professionalism. Many of these recommendations involve classroom management, instructional improvements, and proper ways for communicating with superiors. Try them and see what happens in your classroom.

Classroom management

1. Wait for quiet. Before you begin any lesson and especially when you are about to explain specific steps required to complete an assignment, wait until you have everyone’s attention. Allow time for students to settle down when they first enter the classroom before you begin speaking. That includes finding their seats and taking out their books and pens or laptops. Once you have complete quiet, you may want to begin the class with openers by asking your students how they are today, if they have any comments about the previous lesson or the homework, or what they thought about a popular TV program they may have watched the night before. These are icebreakers that draw students into the class, motivating them to begin the day’s instruction.

Use different colors to delineate parts of complicated diagrams, charts, and drawings.

2. Walk. Lend yourself to your students by walking into your audience and throughout the room. Create a pathway through student desks so that you can make yourself available in the back and in the extreme corners and sides of the classroom. This will not only narrow your distance with the students who sit far from the front, but it will also give you the opportunity to see if they are taking notes, following the text, or completing the exercises you have assigned.

3. Arrange classroom seating. Seating plays a significant role in student distractibility. Maximize student attention by assigning seats close enough for your access and not for students’ social interaction needs.

4. Require students to abide by your classroom rules. Implement a few clear, positively stated rules for classroom discipline, academics, and routines. If you are a student teacher, make sure your cooperating teacher approves and there is no conflict with the rules she may have already established. Rules attached to reasonable consequences enhance student learning. They give students comfort and security because they know what behaviors are expected.

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