Sometimes, despite the best intentions, our teaching becomes a little lacklustre. The causes are varied (maybe you’re tired, uninspired, or summer is still weeks away) but the feeling is not pleasant. So how can you reenergize and kick start your teaching? Start with these strategies…
Hop on Instagram
There are so many creative, hilarious, or socially-aware teachers with great feeds. A quick browse will show accounts full of tips especially curated for teachers of science, English, elementary school, art and more, while others share teacher-focused memes and laugh-out-loud musings to make your day. Take a moment to follow a handful of accounts before slowly adding others. The idea is to mix it up, get tips, and feel connected – not bogged down by content overload.
Find your tribe
Speaking of feeling connected, in today’s digital age we sometimes forget that our screens weren’t always a mediator of conversation. “Real life” networking and social interaction with other teachers (think coffee or lunch) is a powerful way to recharge your batteries, share lesson ideas, talk about the latest trends in education, get the scoop on new job opportunities, or just have a laugh. After all, your colleagues are your community and the support you give each other is invaluable.
Try something new
Take your class outside, rearrange the desks, trial not giving homework, do project work, experiment with blended learning, explore task-based learning, be goofy, use students’ devices in class, embrace classic games, or share a meal in class. You never know what will work until you try it!
Embrace professional development
If your Director of Studies suggests you attend a weekend conference or weekday workshop, jump at the chance! You never know who you may meet at these sessions – plus it’s very likely you’ll come out with a armload of inspiring new ideas for class.
Take a course
Multiply that workshop buzz by 1,000 by signing up for a retreat, mini course, or summer program run by schools or professional teaching associations. You can even find them abroad (think a language course combined with an overseas holiday) giving you an irresistable excuse to combine professional development with a well-deserved break.
Become a podcast addict
It’s clear that podcasting has experienced a golden age in recent years – and thankfully the education sector has not been left out. The great thing about podcasts is their portability and the sense of a private world or conversation being created between you and the presenter. So take a moment to browse the world of podcasts for teachers. You’ll find tips, news, stories, teaching strategies, trends in STEM, and so much more. Your commute will never be as dull again!
Learn from the greats
Thanks to the internet, presentations, videos, books, podcasts, and articles from wonderful teachers are abundant. Scour blogs, watch TED talks, go down a Youtube hole, download ebooks, or pick up a few great reads at a bookshop. The idea is to gather advice from more experienced educators and see what you would like to apply to your own teaching.
While it takes dedication, using tools to evaluate your teaching can give you extremely targeted feedback to apply the following semester. There are a number of ways to do this: keeping a teaching journal, asking your class for written feedback, practicing an end of semester review, recording your teaching (with students’ consent), or seeking out guidance from a senior teacher are all good ways to start.
It’s normal to feel tired, overwhelmed, or uninspired at certain points throughout the year. Instead of letting those feelings grow, nip them in the bud with targeted tips to increase energy and move forward with your teaching. Your class (and you yourself!) will certainly notice the difference.