If you think back to your own schooling days, you can probably pick out a handful of teachers that you remember vividly. These are likely the ones that made a significant impact on your life. They might have helped you deal with difficulties, either inside the classroom or out. They might have made an extra effort that let you know they were invested in you. Whatever the reason, they stick in your mind because there was something about them that made a difference in your life.
Here are a few ways any teacher can improve their practice to reach students in the most effective way possible.
1. Practice Empathy
Empathy, simply defined, is the ability to place oneself in the place of another – to feel what they feel and experience what they experience. This trait comes more naturally for some. It requires development for others.
The most straightforward way to develop increased empathy is to stop and examine how your actions while teaching might be received by students. Try to get outside of your own perspective and place yourself in their viewpoint. Are you engaging them? Are you expressing true interest in their education? Have you invested in them personally? Taking a look from a new vantage point can help answer these questions.
2. Find a Reason to Invest Emotionally
The best teachers have a clear emotional investment in their students’ success. Whether this stems from a true desire to better the world one student at a time or simply the pride of a job well done once a student has demonstrated academic is not important; what is important is that you find a reason to care.
3. Vary Teaching Methods Based on Students’ Needs
No one lesson plan works universally. They necessarily vary depending on the ages of the students, their proficiency, their learning styles, the number of students in a single class, and a variety of other factors. For example, younger learners may enjoy games more than older students. Medical students might find more value in a lesson based on medical terminology than one based on sports vocabulary.
Most importantly, a good teacher learns what works and what doesn’t. Keep track of your successes and failures. Experience is the best teacher.