It’s easy to want everyone to love you and think you’re the best teacher in the world. However, maintaining professionalism in the realm of education is very important because you’re entering a difficult job teaching.
How should you maintain your professionalism as a student teacher and continue this professionalism when you become a “full-fledged” educator? The following are helpful suggestions:
1. You’re their teacher, not their friend:
Remember you’re not in a contest for the most liked, the best personality, the friendliest person. You’re the teacher – the professional – the person responsible to teach young minds.
So don’t try to be your students’ friend. Yes, you want to be nice and liked. However, you need to be amicable while remaining competent, which is not achievable if you’re working to make friends.
2. Always be prepared:
Students know when they’re teachers are not prepared, and the majority of the time, they don’t appreciate an unprepared teacher.
For the most part, students do want to learn. They don’t want to be bored. They don’t want their time wasted. They don’t want to feel unimportant.
So have your lessons prepared in advance. Know what you’re teaching. Have your Power Point or other teaching tools ready, your copies made, the modeling portion of your lesson ready for presentation, and your assignment detailed and ready for all students to learn.
3. Set rules and consequences and follow them:
Students need to have clear expectations to follow. Your rules and consequences need to be clearly defined during the first few days of the school year.
During the time you’re reviewing your rules and consequences, ask for student input. Most of the time, students will give you more rules and consequences then you’re willing to follow. But, this allows them to have a say, and a buy-in, concerning classroom guidelines.
Once you have set in place and posted the rules and consequences, follow them. If you don’t follow the rules and issues consequences, your students will know they can get away with not following what you have set. They’ll know you’re a pushover.
So set the rules, follow the consequences, and expect your students to do the same They’ll listen and follow if it’s expected.
4. Be consistent:
It’s imperative for you to be consistent in all you say and do. If you expect you’re students to be consistent complete their work, turn in their assignments on time, study for quizzes then you need to be consistent as well.
Grade all assignments just as you have stated in your course outline. Accept all late work or don’t; but whatever you decide be consistent with all students.
Don’t pick favorites and give one student a better grade. Many students check for consistency and know when teachers choose favorites. So, stay clear of this trap and be consistent.
5. Follow through:
If you promise your students you’ll have tests graded within two or three days of receiving the exams grade the tests and return them in a timely manner.
If you tell you’re students this week you’re going to teach about exploding volcanoes and they’ll get to create a volcano then follow through. They’ll be anticipating the volcano lesson, and most students thrive on a structured classroom environment.
If you don’t follow through, students will think you don’t care and don’t expect them to follow through. So, if you plan a lesson and tell your students to be prepared, you too need to be prepared and teach the lesson.
6. Maintain effective and immediate communication:
Always have immediate and effective communication with your students and their parents.
If your students request to meet with you, meet with them. If parents send you an email or request you call them, then you should contact them as soon as possible.
Continuing effective and immediate communication can help resolve issues, solve problems, answer questions, and will lead to positive academic success for your students.
Remember, if you want to teach well and you want your students to learn to the best of their ability, follow these six tips to professionalism, which well help ensure a successful teaching career.