Teacher training college is going to be vastly different from taking care of an entire class throughout the year and being responsible for them. If you expect an orderly classroom, don’t. It is going to be chaotic and unorderly as it gets.
For new kindergarten teachers, the prospect can seem like bit of a nightmare because it is a whole lot of responsibility all at once and teaching toddlers is not exactly a smooth ride. As much you want to give into panic, do not. Instead take a look at these 10 tips for new teachers and fortify your reserves of patience and understanding. If you are not panicking, then good for you. But you too can take a look at these tips all the same because nobody can ever be too prepared before beginning a job.
1. Teach routine to students – Just as you are new to teaching, a lot of your students are probably entering school for the first time in their lives. They are not going to know about raising hands, talking to others, walking in lines, being quiet etc. They will need to learn all of this and more. Also, more importantly, they have no concept of routine. Spend the first two three days just teaching them about routine. Teaching them about routines and creating a routine for them to follow will make the rest of the year a lot easier for you and it will also help ease the children into the rigours of formal schooling.
2. Set up a welcoming classroom – Wouldn’t you be uncomfortable if you entered a classroom that did not look inviting? Now take your discomfort and multiply it by 100. There is a reason why places for young children are colourful and bright. These places look a lot more welcoming to children than places which are barebones and devoid of everything except paint on the walls. Make your classroom a welcoming place. A week before school formally starts, find out where you will be teaching and change the way your classroom looks. Put up colorful bulletin boards, colorful calendars , with coloured pencils and crayons at the ready. You might not be able to change the paint scheme of the room, but you can definitely change the decor!
3. Make friends with other kindergarten and preschool teachers – You are not a lone ranger wading through the trials and tribulations of teaching kindergarten (and believe me, there will be many) all by yourself. Talk to your fellow teachers, share ideas with them, bounce potential teaching ideas off them etc. If you experience any problems, sharing them with fellow teachers means that you will at least have a solution. Sharing good news with them also means that your joy is simply amplified.
4. Connect with parents – You might be teaching small children but you are not the only adult in their lives. Parents too play a part in the education of their children. It is always a good idea to connect with the parents of your students. Encourage them to participate in the learning process of their children, ask them for ideas if they have any, tell them about your teaching strategy, incorporate their suggestions etc. You dont need to do everything they say and neither should you have to. However, the parents of your students shouldn’t be strangers to you either.
5. Minimize tears and tantrums – Kindergarten children are prone to tears and tantrums. It is an immutable fact of life. Sometimes, you know why the child has burst into tears and sometimes you will not be able to gauge why. Regardless of the reason, it is prudent to keep a bin of soft toys close at hand. When a child bursts into tears, the soft toy bin will go a long way towards minimizing the tears or temper tantrums.
6. Encourage your kids to make friends – When in kindergarten, children dont always know how to make friends. This will probably be the first time in their lives that they are one among so many children. Encourage your students to be friendly to each other, ask them to play with each other, smooth over differences, help them get along with each other and teach what constitutes friendship, good behaviour etc.
7. Bond with your students – You cannot simply keep teaching your students all the time. You need to spend time with them, also talk to them and make them feel comfortable. School can be a scary place for children, especially when they are entering it for the first time. It is your job to make them feel comfortable, make them enjoy school and the act of learning.
8. Organize a classroom library – Kindergarten is where children begin developing rudimentary reading skills. Encourage them to read as much as you can because classes after kindergarten don’t pay that much attention to reading skills (at least not in India). Keep pictures books and simple story books close at hand and encourage students to take them out and read whenever they have free time. Or you can always pick storybooks and read to them during story-hour. Either way, make sure they feel comfortable with reading and writing before they progress to elementary school.
If you have any tips for new kindergarten teachers, then do share them with us in the comments section below!