Every elementary school teacher has his/her own fair share of stories in the most attractive place in school – in the classroom. Ever been there?
Based on my experience, the moment I walked on through the door these little kids would bombard questions out of their innocence and curiosity. How did I deal with them?
Well, read on and take a snatch of the best teaching practices in elementary that I wanted to share.
When I was a preschool teacher way back in 2002, my pupils would often sit on my desk and told me stories of fairies, wizards, and all magical creatures.
I played as a curious listener even though these stories were never new to me. I delved into their childlike features.
It was actually my first year as a full-fledged teacher. It was the very time when hesitations and doubts came in. And, I’m proud to say that I have had the best teaching practices for elementary that were worth sharing.
Teaching is Priceless
Indeed, I got physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day, but it’s worth it. Seeing my pupils learning how to read and write was really priceless.
I might be exhausted because I had to keep up with the needs of every pupil though there were only 12 of them in my class.
I am a graduate of the course Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. Yes, I am a high school teacher but God has let me experience how to be an elementary teacher for a reason. I always believe that things are happening for a reason. God has put me in that place for a purpose.
I grabbed the opportunity when it came because it’s a stepping stone for me to be formally welcomed in the teaching world. I never hesitated. Indeed, it was the best decision I had ever made. I loved kids and I enjoyed being with them.
Teaching has challenges
Let’s admit it. Teaching has never been easy. It has always been a challenge especially for those who are new in the field. However, the challenges should not make one quit. Always remember we are placed by God in our certain positions for a meaningful cause.
Now, let me say my piece. I believe that we teachers have our own stories and best practices to share knowing the fact that teaching life has full of surprises.
For both teachers and pupils to reap great rewards, here are the best teaching practices that will make you effective and efficient elementary teachers.
7 Best Teaching Practices in Elementary
1. Maintain the focus of helping the pupils
Gain the attention of your pupils. It is imperative that you keep your pupils focused by tapping the best strategies in the beginning and ending a class session.
What can we do to gain the attention of our pupils? What will you do to maximize their learning hours with you?
By the time I enter the room, I always see to it that I already have a plan beforehand. It may not turn out as planned but at least I have a guide on what to do.
Feed the pupils with fun and excitement. Give them morning or opening exercises. Yes, in my class, I let my pupils have a simple program before the class begins.
I let them sing and dance. Hence, I make sure I have my gadgets ready like my Bluetooth speaker. I assign simple tasks for them like who will lead the prayer, who will host the program, and the like. It would ignite their energy. This will not only make them energetic but will also transform them into responsible pupils.
I give my pupils the best chance to exercise before the lesson proper. This is another way of helping them to be attentive in your class.
Let them inhale and exhale. You may also allow them to greet their peers. Allow your pupils to roam around in the classroom for a minute. They will love it. It will give them the best chance to know and befriend their classmates.
2. Be more passionate with your pupils
As a teacher, I keep in mind the reason why I join the workforce. Of course, we work to earn a living but it should go beyond it. Certainly, the more we love our work, the more committed we are on our duties as teachers, the more likely we get positive results. There might be humps and curves along the way, but they can spice up success.
Keep focused and never waive for what’s best. Always move forward and stay committed as always. We should always teach guided by the school’s vision and mission. These kids should know that you are there for them to improve their focus despite their learning differences. Also, they have to benefit the curriculum and instruction. Get their attention.
When introducing a new concept to your pupils, never generalize. Don’t forget about individual differences. On my part, I always think of ways that will cater to their learning needs. My mission every day is to have my pupils learn the skills and to assess their learning effectively.
With the light of proper assessment tools, I will know if the learning outcomes are achieved. If it requires me to re-teach the lesson, I will do it. I am not in a hurry for I am after for quality rather than quantity. This is what I mean by being a passionate teacher.
3. Set expectations on pupil’s behavior
Every child is unique. Each one behaves differently from the other. Among your pupils, there might be one or two or even more who can be so challenging. This might give you the best struggle in your teaching career. I experienced this kind of situation, too. However, teachers as we are, we can make use of our creativity at any time.
First of all, I set accepted behavior in the classroom so my pupils are guided accordingly. In doing so, I would make it clear for what’s acceptable or not. It all started with simple greetings and polite expressions. My plan should work on every pupil and not only a few.
I made use of symbols and colorful cut-out shapes. For example, if the pupil did something great, he/she would be given stars or I would stamp stars on the pupil’s wrist. Either way made the pupil very happy.
On the other hand, if the challenging pupils misbehaved again, then he/she would receive a cut out red circle in a discreet manner. I dropped it on the concerned pupil’s desk silently.
Furthermore, I included in my goal to always work with this kind of pupils because I believed that they needed my love and support.
Even at present, at the end of the class, I always give time to be with them as their friend and teacher. I will sit with them and ask them how was their day.
Most importantly, I will make them feel that I enjoy talking with them. I laugh with them and praise them for the productive learning experience. I give them encouragement by doing their best always. A simple tap at their back is a gesture of encouragement and can work miracles.
4. Maximize great patience
Patience is a virtue. There are instances in the classroom that you will tend to lose your patience. I experience this, too. What I will do is take a deep breath and be pause for a while. I count 1 to 10 and hold myself not to react immediately.
I essentially collect my thoughts and get ready for what to say. I give myself a quick time to think and relax. I keep in mind that these are little kids and they are under my care. I remind myself that I should remain an effective teacher no matter what.
Some pupils will really test your patience daily. Some of them can really set you off. At some point or another, you can get really irritated. Well, with your years in the field, you should have at least developed strategies in dealing with them.
I know it’s hard and will require you to be more patient and understanding. Besides, different situations in the classroom whether desirable or not should be part of your classroom management schemes.
In a classroom full of children, you will really need a full sack of patience. This virtue should be embedded in your personality as an effective teacher.
5. Learn to empathize with your pupils
Learn how to ‘feel’ your pupils. Be more empathetic for it is extremely important in teaching. If you don’t have it you will ever understand how your pupils feel and why they behave like that. Try to find out what’s going on by stepping into their shoes.
It’s never enough to say that you understand them fully because you were once a pupil like them. Well, that is not empathizing that is just reminiscing.
If a pupil drops a bombshell in class, don’t get frustrated. For me, even though I know that it can be very challenging, I always exercise my maximum tolerance. I am the teacher in class but it doesn’t mean I am always to be followed.
Of course, I have to give due consideration of the causes of things so as not to make the situation much worse. I walk in their shoes and I build empathy.
Misunderstanding in the classroom happens. Some pupils may lose confidence and their willingness to learn. It is because we don’t know how to show empathy.
I am just a human being and getting irritated and be in a bad mood is but natural. In this situation, I always think of ways on how to act and react to undesirable situations in the classroom. The way I handle situations will really make a difference in the teaching-learning process.
6. Be a good listener
My pupils in the classroom are not just mere spectators. They are not just there to sit and listen. They are not the only ones that do the listening all the time. I make them evolve.
They are my fellow human beings and they are not robots. They have their own strengths and weakness just like I do. As a teacher, I also listen. This is my way of keeping a good connection with my pupils. I teach and I connect.
When I listen to my pupil’s best expressions of difficulties and frustrations, I am given the idea of how to deal with them. I find it extra helpful for my students to learn and think effectively. I always find time to listen to them. They ask questions and I welcome them.
I listen very well especially to my pupils who learn and think differently. I will let them feel that I am always on the line for them and that their efforts even the simplest of all are well-appreciated.
As a teacher, I understand that choosing the best teaching strategy for your classroom is challenging. Whether seasoned or not, picking the correct strategy that will work well with your learners really need careful consideration.
Have you thought of changing your teaching strategy from time to time? By reading the best practices of some teachers, we can gather a lot of techniques that will somehow enrich our teaching experiences.
7. Be always student-centered
I give lectures and I feed helpful information. I also show how things should be done and give a lot of examples. When teaching pupils about what is a sentence, for example, I have to define it and break its parts. However, I don’t hang in there. I involve them and make learning collaborative. I help them to become engaged learners in a dynamic classroom set up.
With the best discussion technique of the lesson, I can show to my pupils what basically is a sentence and how does it differ from a phrase. My lesson will not be just simple memorization of definitions.
After going through several examples and the discussion of its parts, I let my pupils collaborate and construct their own sentences. Furthermore, my pupils should learn not only what to study but also the how and the why.
In elementary, pupils really need guidance and constant follow-up. However, as a teacher, I am always on the scenario of making activity really important for the learning process.
Learning will be very meaningful if the lesson is relevant to their needs and interests. This will help the learners go about the lesson with more confidence.
Therefore, learner’s backgrounds and interests are really a vital aspect in the teaching-learning process. This is a way of respecting and accommodating individual differences.
I motivate learner-involvement and I allow my pupils to learn from each other. As the facilitator of learning, I am sensitive to my learner’s interests.
I act as a guide and I let them follow but, I am not closing opportunities for discovery learning. The more engaged are my learners, the more real-life are the tasks, the more authentic is the learning experience.
What about you? Do you have best practices in class that you’d want to share? Are your students, active participants in their own learning? If yes, how do you go about it?
Surely, you are welcome to share your teaching expertise and best experiences in the classroom. Find your spot in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.