Teaching Tricks

Of course old teachers can learn new tricks – and we should!  As teachers, the quickest way to become stale, bored with your subject and boring for your students is to forget that education is changing all the time. New qualifications, new technologies and new ideas are being made available all the time.

Most of us have our ‘tried and tested’ tricks we use to help, teach, control (sometimes) and stimulate our students but,if any teacher is honest, there is always some area they wish they could put their finger on and make right but somehow is not yet perfect. This is where new tricks and ideas come in. Sometimes, learning how to use a new piece of kit like an interactive whiteboard, attending a conference and meeting other teachers from all disciplines and even sitting in on another colleague’s lesson can provide a wealth of fresh ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, you get great ideas from others who are willing to support and share and you, for your part, can share your ideas with them.

Surprisingly, I realised just how much time we spend laughing in my lessons lately and this is not because I am deliberately funny but because I have learned that, for some students, it is vital to have a sense of humor and to laugh in order to break the ice, get them to relax more and therefore learn more effectively. Sometimes, the atmosphere is just so good, we are all positive and learning and teaching are a shared joy but there are other days when things do not flow so easily, students may be bothered by something or they may feel they do not know an area well enough. I found that some students got a little lost on equations and I decided to watch a colleague use a whiteboard which he said helped him in this area with students who found it hard.

He basically drew all sorts of characters,with names and silly expressions and students laughed but it made the symbols really easy to remember and he shared this trick with me (in return for me showing him a few tricks to liven up his deadly dull Powerpoint displays). We both leanred a new trick and our students benefitted.

As well as learning new tricks on the teaching side, it is always worth learning more about your subject to keep it dynamic, interesting and fersh,not only for you but for your students.

Always be prepared to learn new tricks and keep your teaching interesting. Students will look back and remember the good teachers – you really do have an effect on students’ lives and we are priveledged to be teachers. Students will also remember the bad teachers so do not become one of them.

Old teachers can learn new tricks – in fact, it should be imperative to do so!