Every day of teaching would be every awesome teacher’s dream come true. Without the love and passion for educating others, and the motive to see kids morph into intellectually stimulated beings, nothing would be worth a day in a classroom.
So how can you be on the Awesome Teacher’s list?
Our educational experts have specifically analyzed and gathered the top-rated qualities any aspiring teacher has, and to inspire you, here is how you know you’re an AWESOME teacher:
- ‘MAKING A DIFFERENCE’ IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME
You know you’re awesome when you love making a difference. You will do what it takes to inspire others with new and exciting information, encourage children to open their minds and think critically, as well as analyse and address the needs of the children and community, where you can influence positive change.
2- YOU LOVE CHILDREN
Teaching is not only about transferring new information to students, but cooperating with each one to help them flourish with knowledge and critical thinking, while understanding their different qualities and abilities to drive them towards being better people who strive for their goals and aspirations.
3- YOU RAISE EXPECTATIONS = RAISING THE BELIEF TO ACHIEVE
When your students see that you believe in them, and expect the best from them, they will strive to be better at what they do. Bit by bit, they will learn to adapt their best qualities and abilities to achieve their goals inside and outside the classroom.
Not only are you setting high standards for your students, but you are igniting the fire of ambition by helping them build confidence, hope, and a strong belief to achieve.
4- YOU CREATE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
If your classroom environment gets students to collaborate together, promotes discussion and dialogue, and gives forth to the school and the community, then we’d have to congratulate you: you have created a strong sense of belonging. Where this kind of environment exists, you will succeed in teaching your students to be part of a community, care and respect others, as well as harmoniously work together.
5- YOU APPLY EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE SKILLS
You are that awesome teacher that knows how important character building is in improving education. You nurture your students into a moral and disciplined environment, where they learn to care and cooperate with one another, build trust and loyalty with their peers and teacher, as well as apply positive and respectful behavior in the classroom and the community.
6- YOU APPLY SUCCESSFUL OBJECTIVES
As an organized and structured teacher, you start each class with a clear lesson plan and target objectives. This way, you have every minute planned for a certain goal, and every student following you through without confusion or tardiness.
Your students not only learn the quality of organization, but trust in your ability to achieve a successful outcome.
7- YOU MANAGE A CLASSROOM LIKE A PRO
A pro effectively manages a classroom by applying clear guidelines that will ensure positive student behavior and conduct, promote effective study habits, and encourage organized classroom collaboration, while maintaining an enjoyable learning environment.
8- YOU ARE ACCESSIBLE
Be that awesome teacher who listens and addresses student problems, needs, goals and dreams. Be that trustworthy educator who always welcomes parents to ask, learn and suggest ideas on how to encourage their children. Be that aspiring co-worker who helps and advises other teachers, gives a warm welcome into the office, and promotes a productive environment. Be accessible in a warm, welcome and communicative way.
9- YOU ARE AS PROFESSIONAL AS IT GETS
Yes you are one of those teachers who knows how to promote an enjoyable educational environment. Yet, you have not forgotten how to be professional in your own field. You care for your personal appearance and representability, which in turn aspires respect from your students, co-workers, and parents. You also know how to maintain fantastic organizational skills, as well as inhibit excellent communication skills.
10- YOU ARE CONSTANTLY UP TO DATE WITH YOUR TEACHING GADGETS
Today’s 21 st century education always calls for gadgets that will help speedup and improve the learning environment. Being up to date with today’s educational tools promotes you as a teacher who constantly seeks to improve and change to the better. Accordingly, teachers nowadays work with the device that suit their needs and abilities. Many use electronic learning methods like SMART Board, White Board, and Learning Management System (LMS), which help them coordinate a modern, fun and effective educational experience.
11- YOU ARE A STRIVER FOR KNOWLEDGE
You love fueling your knowledge in the subjects you teach and in other fields as well. You constantly enrich your mind and soul with new information, trends and data. Your passion for knowledge is, therefore, transmitted to your students. Your students will ask questions and you will always answer, and if you don’t know the response (which would be unlikely) you’ll always strive to get it. Not only do you always strengthen your know-how about your subject matter, but also about the overall curriculum. This is an awesome teacher’s trait: to constantly grow.
12- YOU HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF SELF (EGO)
As a self-aware teacher who knows that not all days in the classroom are sunshine and rainbows, you are able to stand any hardships. Your students may behave with misconduct or have trouble grasping new information. Yet, your strong sense of self will keep your head up high, your vision clear, and your optimism shining.
13- YOU HAVE A HUMBLE SENSE OF SELF (HUMILITY)
Though your ego boost is high, you must always remember: it’s not about you, it’s about your students. Maintaining a sense of humility is what it takes to adapt a sharing and giving environment in your classroom. As an awesome teacher, you give floor to your kids and strive to enrich their learning experience as best as you can.
14- YOU REFLECT, ANALYSE AND TAKE ACTION
Finally, you know you’re an awesome teacher when after every lesson you reflect on what happen, why, and how you can always improve. You analyse each situation and apply action plans towards the objective of being an awesome teacher.
As teachers, we want to see our students’ eyes brighten with new knowledge and enlightenment in a fun, disciplined classroom. Yet, many common classroom management mistakes happen and it may take you some time to learn how to achieve an efficient learning environment.
You might have spent days and nights planning lessons and activities, and sadly faced your worst nightmare: student misconduct. Your plan, therefore, changes and your class becomes less of a fun learning experience and more of pointing out misbehavior.
Have no fear! This all falls back on your classroom management style. As teachers, you have to learn how to manage, control and monitor the behaviors of your students in your classroom.
This does not mean you have to force your students into a required code of conduct. It is much simpler than that with a guaranteed dose of fun!
Here are the top 7 effective ways to manage your classroom and student conduct:
Develop rules together
Teachers, this is a hands-down effective way to encourage your students in participating and feeling included. By developing a joint agreement with your students on the class rules, you are both reflecting fairness and responsibility among the students.
How? Have the students collaborate by brainstorming a set of rules that they would like to apply in class. Involve them in deciding what the penalties would be should the rules be violated. Write down no more than 5 rules on a chart or on the board for everyone to see. Keep those rules until the end of the semester to enforce its validity. Some rules could be: no chattering, switch mobile phones on silent, no shouting out the answers, listen effectively, etc.
Reward positive behavior
Many teachers neglect their students by not recognizing their disciplined behavior or accomplishments. This is one of the biggest mistakes teachers can do. As teachers, you need to motivate your students and encourage their positive behavior. Verbal recognition is not enough.
One of the most successful ways to do so is by applying a reward system or a point evaluation system.
How? For each positive behavior a bonus point would be attained. At the end of each week, summarize the points collected for each student and promising a prize at the end of the semester or at the end of each month. Some of the prizes could be: a class field trip, tablets for the top five scores in class, etc.
Always include student activities
Theoretical teaching alone is past tense. Nowadays, education involves hands-on learning.
Modern twenty-first century education constantly encourages in and outside classroom activities.
Applying lessons in real-life is an effective way to amplify the students’ learning curves, and as teachers, you need to invigorate your students’ interests as much as you can. In addition, always make sure to incorporate character building activities that will encourage positive attitudes for their everyday life. Make sure to involve your students in class room discussions and presentations after each activity to motivate collaborative learning and team play.
Recap old lessons in the new
At the start of the class period, always recap the important points of the lesson before. This rejuvenates the students’ memories and helps highlight any missing points. Also, encourage students to ask questions or discuss what they thought of the previous lesson and what they learn. The students’ interests will surely be stimulated and kept the right track. It will also motivate them to pay attention to future lessons.
Be a positive example
Students look up to you, teachers. Make sure to model your behaviors and attitudes appropriately as this will reflect on your students. There are many positive examples that you can set for your students, including always being on time. If you expect your students to respect punctuality, then it starts with you. Also, dressing professionally. Representability is very significant as it reflects respect to one’s self and to others, hygiene, confidence, alertness, care, vitality, and credibility.
Imagine if you were to dress recklessly and look tired when teaching your students. The probability will fall on your students’ disinterest and might have a negative reflection on their attitudes as well. Conclusively, always be a positive example to those you teach.
Are you one of those teachers attached to the blackboards? Your students’ attention spans are very short and are usually stimulated by movement and engagement. Instructing from one spot might only catch the attention of those at the front row for some period of time, but for those at the back, they’ll probably pull out of tune right away. Practicing mobility is key to involve all students and avoid off-task behaviors. Some teachers arrange their class rooms in ways that make movement impossible. Make sure that the class room is mobile-friendly. Make eye contact with students as you move across the room while instructing. This will maintain the student’s focus and interest.
Structure, structure, structure
Routine can be dull at times. But when you want to apply structure, it is the key answer to induce positive behavior and focus among students. When structure fails to prevail in class rooms, students might more likely seize ‘downtime’ and provoke misbehavior. As teachers, the ball is in your court to control student conduct by applying class room structure.
Aristotle once said, “When we do good things, we become good people.”
As teachers we have the responsibility of not only bringing academic knowledge to our students, but also shaping them into the best versions of themselves.
Throughout the centuries, many educational movements have set on the mission of developing the best character education techniques, curricula and schools. After so many trials and errors, discussions and dialogues, and laws being passed and reformed, a good sum of data has emerged to produce reliable and strong character education programs.
In this light, we gathered the top 10 character building activities for teachers to apply in their classrooms.
THE 6 PILLARS OF CHARACTER:
Each of the following character traits shape a strong individual that can make positive change: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
The best way to nurture these traits is to involve your students in activities where they will be able to reflect, discuss and apply them in real-life.
More traits are usually added in character building education programs, including: courage, diligence and integrity.
Here are the top 10 character building activities:
- The Character Value Jar activity:
How it works: Divide your students into groups. Announce to the groups that you will be observing their behaviors which indicate one or more of the 6 pillars of character. For example, if you spot an act of caring, a jelly bean (or another item of your choice) will be placed in the group’s jar. Emphasis that it’s about quality and not quantity by color coding each item and announcing that it’s not a race. When the jar is full, each group will be rewarded with a special treat, such as pizza for everyone or a class field trip. Make sure to look out for genuine behaviors and praise the students for their acts. Write down the color codes and have the jars in clear sight for everyone to see. Periodically comment on the greatest number of colors in the jar and the particular ones that might be scarce.
Lessons learnt: The students apply the 6 pillars of character in real-life and learn how to collaborate with each other to do so. Essentially, they learn trustworthiness by being rewarded for genuine and authentic behavior, and not by reaching the means to an end. – See more here.
- Art Reflections:
How it works: Write down the important aspects of trustworthiness in clear sight for everyone to see. These aspects are identified in what you say and do: honesty, reliability, loyalty and integrity. Have your students illustrate these aspects through any form of art (drawing, painting, craftwork, etc.) Have each of them present their own reflections about the art work they create for the chosen aspect. Finally, hang their art works around the school with a brief description of the art work. See more here.
Lessons learnt: Students learn to perceive trust within their own frame and express it openly. They will learn that each perception is different but falls under the common grounds of the aspect. Creativity and imagination is also induced in this activity.
- Character Clippings:
How it works: Have your students clip out pieces of newspapers and magazines that identify situations in which respect or disrespect are seen. Have them describe how the clippings reflect the issues of respect or disrespect, and discuss the traits that have resulted to them. Hang the students’ clippings in clear sight for everyone to see in class and involve them in a discussion about the consequences of disrespectful and respectful behaviors.
Lessons learnt: Students are exposed to various media types and data from which they could enrich their analytical and decision making skills, as well as their creativity.
- Giraffe Hero Game:
How it works: Ask the students who their heroes are. Write them on the board without commenting about them or labeling them with the students’ names. Afterwards, tell them at least two stories from the Giraffes on this website. Engage them in a class discussion asking about the risks they took, their positive actions and the good characters involved. Don’t forget to assert that the Giraffe heroes stick their necks out for others. Following that, return to the heroes on the board and spark a discussion around the risks that each has taken and the people they have helped.
Make sure to involve the class into a discussion to engage the shy ones and avoid embarrassments. Help the students realize that being rich, talented or good looking doesn’t have to make you a hero, but respecting one another and sticking your neck out for others makes you one.
With that, divide the class into groups and ask them to brainstorm and choose a hero represented in films, books, series, history or the community. Have the students present their heroes’ stories using narratives, art, drama or through a song. Lead the class into a discussion about each hero presented. Discuss the risks that have been taken and the caring that is shown to help others. In a new list, write down the heroes that have genuinely stuck out their necks (including the ones from the first list). Present the heroes in a ‘Hall of Heroes’ around the school. See more here.
Lessons learnt: Students collaborate with each other, learn from example and enhance their creative, presentation and research skills.
- Role Play:
How it works: You’ve committed to completing a project during the weekend that’s due Monday. Unexpectedly, your friends invite you to a trip in the weekend and you decide to go with your friends instead. Explain your decision to the team members of the project. Afterwards, have a class discussion around this behavior. What would each person do to achieve his/her goal? What is are the general guidelines that can be learnt from this behavior? What are the actions that motivate responsibility?
Lessons learnt: The students will reflect and analyze the situation upon themselves, collaborate in discussion and learn the significant traits that come with responsibility.
- The Fair Square:
How it works: Have the students collect clippings from newspapers, journals and magazines that refer to facts and opinions. Instruct them to pay attention to details, accuracy and credibility. Separate two columns, one for fact and the other for opinion. Have them identify what is fact and what is opinion in those clippings and hang them on the relevant column. Afterwards, assign each student to write an op-ed about any subject of their choosing, instructing them to be as fair as they could by referring to their previous exercise. Combine their op-eds into a class magazine, writing their names next to each of their articles, and then distribute a copy on each student.
Lessons learnt: The students will learn to identify the traits of fairness and take responsibility of being fair. They will see the outcome of their fairness in a hard copy hand book that will encourage them to apply this trait in everyday life.
- Caring for All:
How it works: Have your students watch the film Pay It Forward which is a great example of caring. Afterwards, assign each student to research the missing needs within the community. Have each student develop a plan to fill the gaps in whichever way they choose and apply it. For example, crocheting blankets and distributing them among the poor or creating books or magazine for retirement homes or kids. By the end of the school semester, have the students present their achievements and the influence they made on the community and themselves. See more here.
Lessons learnt: Here the students are also learning the concept of community involvement and citizenship, as they are engaging with individuals outside their school environment and learning about their lifestyles and needs.
- Our City is Our Country is Our Home:
How it works: Divide your students into groups and take them on a couple of field trips (preferably in different cities). Have your students engage in beautification and/or environmental projects. Ask each group to create a blog to illustrate their journey and discoveries and share them with the class, friends and families (this is optional). At the end of the school semester, each group presents their discoveries through interactive media (i.e. videos, pictures, etc.) and achievements to the class. See more here.
Lessons learnt: community involvement, learning more about their country, and discovering new places, people and ideas.
Finally, you may involve your students in the following activities to wrap up the 6 pillars of character:
- The 6 Pillar Bash:
How it works: Divide the students into six groups. Each group will be responsible for one of the 6 pillars of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship). Assign a movie/TV Drama/sitcom for each group. Have each group pay significant attention to the behavior of the main character to identify their assigned character pillar. Ask questions like: How much of the character pillar behavior did they find? How much of the opposing character trait did they find? Have a class discussion about these issues.
- Community Involvement:
How it works: Divide your students into two groups, and sign each group to a non-profit organization of their choice. Throughout the school semester, have the students partake in the organizations’ activities to fulfill personal and social responsibilities. At the last week of the semester, have each group conduct a presentation and an oral report about their accomplishments and the lessons they have learnt with regards to the 6 pillars of character.
Lessons learnt: for both the above mentioned activities, students solidify their memory and experience with regards to the 6 pillars of character. The hands-on experience will amplify the positive effects good character does, and encourage them to apply those traits in everyday life.