The midpoint of the year is a good time to evaluate our teaching practices and plan for implementation of new strategies for the new semester. Sometimes our classes don't meet our own expectations and require us to look inward at our teaching style, strategies, and methods. Second semester is what could be called "re-time" in our classes: redo, rethink, retool, reboot, reflect, and so forth.
The start of the second semester is the perfect time to reflect on our own practice. What is my own philosophy for teaching and learning? How do I see my philosophy reflected in that of my students? Do I see any patterns in student learning? Are any of these patterns based on gender, class, ethnicity in the students I have? How can I adjust my practice to address these patterns?
Rearrangement of the desks or students offers a perfect opportunity for reestablishing expectations for behavior. When students move to a new location in the room they feel less at ease and in need of reassurance of expectations and norms. Use this opportunity to reengage students in resetting and redefining their classroom norms. Finally, now that you have established the norms, remind students of expectations each time you transitions into and out of group activities. Reward students after the transitions for their good behavior with praise.
Reject the idea that student teacher relationships are set in stone because they evolve and change throughout the year. Find opportunities to reconnect with your students by giving them group tasks that require communication with you as the instructor. For instance, assign students to the role of group communicator in charge of relaying information between you and the student group during activities. Use each of these small interactions to build relationships.
Finally, take care of good old number one. Find time outside of the school to enjoy time with friends and family. Reengage in the recreational activities that help you to rejuvenate, relax and recharge. In taking take care of yourself; you are re-energized and ready for your students.
This post brought to you by Dan Devine, Secondary Implementation Associate
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