There is no specific set of rules on how to be a elementary school teacher in the 21st century. Elementary school teachers must be effective and get results while still relating to their students. The United States education system evaluates teachers based on statistical results and data analysis. While test scores can speak volumes about the effectiveness of a teacher, teachers have many other roles within a classroom.
5 tips for being a successful elementary school teacher:
Consistency is key
Teachers must be a reliable presence in their students’ lives. Students need to know what to expect from teachers and when they can expect it. Young people thrive on consistent schedules, so teachers should implement one in their classrooms that encompasses academic subjects, arts, exercise and quiet time.
Establish classroom rules and post them on the wall
Setting behavior expectations is a fundamental part of classroom management. Teachers can choose short phrases that set clear expectations for conduct such as listening, being kind to others, and following directions, then compile these into a short list of classroom rules that are posted where students can always see them.
To help students understand the class rules, teachers should model them on the first day of school — for example, by making a list of ways to show respect for others — and explain the related rewards and consequences. Posted classroom rules are an effective visual aid for students to remember how they should behave in class.
Get to know students
With each new bunch of students will come 20, 30 or even 40 new personalities. It’s important for children to feel that their teacher cares about them individually. A simple act like greeting students at the classroom door is a great way to connect. Teachers should learn their student’s names as quickly as possible and include some getting-to-know-you activities in the first few days of the school year.
Some teachers even send home a “Beginning of the Year Survey” that students fill out with their parents, answering questions about their learning style, likes and dislikes, reading preferences, and goals. Teachers who get to know everyone in their classrooms are better equipped to teach to students’ strengths, identify and intervene on problems early, and find a balance for the different learning styles and personalities in the class.
Keep the lines of communication open
Elementary school teachers who expect students to listen to and respect them must provide them with the same courtesy. Furthermore, asking students questions and paying close attention to their answers helps teachers adjust their instruction to suit students’ strengths and weaknesses and supports development of soft skills.
A successful teacher’s students will feel comfortable coming to them with questions or problems, confident they’ll get a fair chance. In addition, good communication with teachers builds trust in students as they continue their educational journey.
Make learning fun
One of an elementary teacher’s main duties is to provide an educational foundation for the future. At the same time, they want students to look forward to entering the classroom each day. Fortunately, teachers can use many strategies to create a learning environment that engages students and ignites their intellectual curiosity. Here are just a few:
- Develop and use creative lesson plans
- Experiment with instructional methods such as project-based learning and flipped classrooms
- Provide options for every type of learner, whether that involves students working quietly on their own or hands-on activity
- Use social media as a classroom tool
Incorporating unique activities into the daily routine helps students to find learning enjoyable rather than a chore.
Being a teacher in an elementary school is both a great challenge and opportunity. Teachers are required to produce results for their districts and to provide students with a fair and equal education. However, the best elementary teachers are not only concerned with a child’s development within the classroom, but their all-around well-being.