What is a teacher?
A teacher is someone who brings forth knowledge in a way that will enlighten, engage, and inspire someone to learn.
A teacher can be anyone, a stay at home mom, a nurse, a truck driver, child care provider, or even a farmer. A teacher doesn’t have to be someone that goes to work in a classroom every day.
Teaching takes a certain gift from the heart to make every experience a learning opportunity.
The following tips are being shared, they are ideas that I have used myself when working with children. These are methods that are practically painless, and will result in better learning moments.
1) Be an active listener.
Talking or telling a child something doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be understood or retained. Listening will give you great insight into the child’s behavior, and learning process.
2) Be honest.
When a child asks you a question, and you may not know the answer… or maybe the answer is a little uncomfortable for you… tell the child your fears or that you don’t know the answer. Then take it a step further and look it up together. That child will remember and respect you for being honest.
3) Be positive.
Children thrive with positive reinforcement. Soft voices, praise when earned will help develop that child’s self esteem. You are more likely to get through to a child with positive verbal and body language than you will with negative.
4) Be consistent.
Children need and respond well to structure and consistency. At early ages, children have a harder time with change. Establishing a routine that you can stick to will make things so much easier for you as well as the children. Children like to know that at a specific time and day they will be participating in a specific activity.
5) Be open to different styles of teaching.
You are going to find that no 2 children will learn exactly the same way. When you have an integrated number of children (integrated referring to age and skill levels) you will need to spend a great deal of time observing the children to make sure that all of their individual needs are being met. Some children will grasp concepts with ease if they can touch and explore while other children grasp concepts better if they can read the material and absorb it.
Teaching doesn’t always mean sticking to one set curriculum, it is an ever-evolving process. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
6) Be creative! (My favorite)
The best teachers I personally have had were those who went the extra mile to teach concepts outside of the box. Teachers who spent the extra time to bring props to class, or dress up to coordinate with a theme, or even make a large display in the classroom.
You may think that you aren’t all that creative, but you most definitely are. Being creative takes practice just like riding a bike or learning to drive a car. It’s about coming up with ideas that maybe you haven’t ever tried before.
Spending just a little extra time, will reward you more than you ever imagined!