Back to school advice for teachers? Put your all into the first few days. Educators often talk of making sure that students get the message about their expectations and discipline during the first few weeks. Be firm; implement consequences. This is definitely helpful. However, equally important today is to get off to a strong start – to up your game and up the Wow! Factor. That means pulling out all stops so that your students experience some of your best teaching. Give them something positive to talk about. Ideally the grapevine would be buzzing, “Ms. Jones – now she’s not easy, but class was interesting.”
So how do teachers get off to a great start? Here are few recommendations:
1. Help students survey your course so that they begin to see the big picture. The SQ3R process (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) works well. Students can survey your syllabus and survey your text.
2. Anchor the instruction with the students’ experiences, perhaps even creating common hands-on experiences for students.
3. Reflect on a lesson that you love to teach and consider what you did and what the students did. Use those principles to design a few exceptional lessons for the first part of the school year.
4. The best instruction often happens in classes where the class period starts off strong. Get the students interested immediately so you do not have to struggle to get them back on task. Bore them in the first few minutes, and you are doomed. Scan your class. If they are falling asleep that should tell you something — not only about their home life, but also about your instruction. So the rule is spend your time and energy on planning the first 15 minutes of class. Add mystery, ask questions to get them involved, relate what you are teaching to their lives. And do it quickly — don’t wait until the middle of the class period to get to these important components.
More to come…