Teaching kids is a joy. There is probably nothing grander than the sight of a child’s face as it lights up in understanding of a lesson you’ve just taught. Children are the future of our world, after all, and every little lesson we’re teaching them helps shape the kind of person they will become as adults. If you have the aptitude for it, being a teacher to small kids can be a very fulfilling job.
At the same time, teaching kids is a huge responsibility. It is a task that no one should take lightly. However, with some preparation, perseverance, and an effective bag of tricks up your sleeve, you can make a positive impact on a child’s education. Here are some tips on how to teach kids that will make teaching them an easier and a more joyful experience for you.
Come to Your Classes Prepared
The classroom most conducive to teaching kids is one where the teacher is prepared. It doesn’t matter if it is a real classroom in an actual school, a room in a daycare center, or a corner in the living room or den in one’s home. If you’re going to impart knowledge to children, you have to have a prepared lesson plan, all the materials you need to conduct the class, and an environment that does not leave any opening for your students to be distracted from the lessons your teaching.
Why is it necessary for you to be prepared in conducting your classes? The reason is any single mistake or distraction can destroy the learning atmosphere in your classroom. When that happens, it will be very difficult to regain the kids’ attention on the lesson. It will be a waste of time and effort both for you and for the children.
Additionally, you should ready yourself emotionally and mentally before you start your class. Children are very sensitive creatures. They will easily pick up your mood and be affected by it. If you are in a bad mood as you conduct your class, your students will be tense and restless. Good luck teaching them anything then.
Have a Realistic Goal for Each Lesson
Rome is not built in one night. Rather, it is built brick by brick, conquest by conquest, over the course of hundreds of years. The same applies with teaching kids. You can’t expect them to absorb big concepts in one lesson alone. Instead, you have to break down these big concepts into itty-bitty lessons that your students can consume and understand more readily, without making their head spin. This is more realistic and actually helps speed up your students’ learning curve.
For example, when teaching kids to read, it’s not a good idea to start them on, say Shakespeare. Not all adults who have gone through the K12 program can even comprehend Shakespeare. Before you make that leap, make sure that your kids know their ABCs first. You can use methods like Sesame Street’s Letter of the Day to teach them the English alphabet. Then you can proceed with children’s books appropriate to your students’ age and reading skill levels. Eventually, the kids will build their vocabulary and their ability to comprehend more complicated texts. If they keep at it, they will be able to understand and appreciate Shakespeare.
Anything can happen inside your classroom. Aside from being always prepared, you need to be adaptable in the event that something unexpected occurs in your classroom and steals your students’ attention from the lesson. You can veer slightly from your lesson plan so you can get your students focused again on learning and get back on track.
Moreover, you should adapt your teaching style to your individual students as much as possible. No two kids are alike, after all, so you’ll occasionally need to modify how you deliver your lessons to match the personality, temperament, and the type and level of intelligence your students have. For instance, some kids are more logical while some are more visual. Some kids have a higher level of emotional intelligence than others. You’ll need to use different teaching techniques to help your students learn your lessons their way and at their pace.
Combine Lessons with Fun
In teaching the little ones, there’s a time for being serious and there’s a time for having fun. Because children have a short attention span, you have to learn how to strike a balance between the seriousness and the fun. If your lessons are all seriousness, your students will be bored. Boredom is a great impediment to learning. But if it is all fun and games, they will not give your lessons the gravity they deserve. They will not develop a healthy respect for you as their teacher either.
Let’s say you’re teaching kids language. You can have them sing nursery rhymes, play riddles and word games, read stories, play with puppets, use flash cards, and watch films in that language. But you have to be clear with your students that you are doing all these fun activities because they are tools for learning that language.
Let’s say you’re teaching kids about money. Counting games, board games like Monopoly, money-related problem solving and other such games will help kids learn how money works. Playing games like that are fun, but the children you are teaching should always remember that there’s a lesson they should learn while playing the game.
Always try to make your lessons a balance between serious study and fun. Such a balance is more conducive to learning than drilling kids on their lessons.
Keep Your Students Motivated
We love being rewarded for a job well done. Receiving a reward means the effort we have spent on any endeavor is recognized and appreciated. When you know the work you’re doing is recognized and appreciated, it pushes you to do more and to do better.
The same is true for your students. Learning anything isn’t easy, you know. Learning takes work, no matter how intelligent your pupils are. So when they’ve managed to absorb and comprehend a lesson you’re teaching them, you should reward them for the effort they’ve spent on it. Give them a gold star at the end of the school day to show their parents, or maybe some other token or gift for a job well done. Doing so will heighten their desire to learn more of what you have to teach them and work harder on their schoolwork.
Above All, Be Patient
Teaching kids is not an easy job. It will test your mettle not just as a professional teacher but also as a person. You will meet children who are a joy to teach as well as children who will make you want to tear your hair out. You will meet parents who are cooperative and parents who will question every move you make in the classroom.
Needless to say, patience is a good virtue to have as a teacher. No matter how testy the job of teaching kiddos is making you, you have to keep your cool. Always remember that losing your temper at your students will not just disrupt your lesson for the day; it can also have significant effects on your students as well, effects that they might carry for the rest of their life.
Teaching kids is a joy. It allows you to touch young minds and help mold them into the people they will become as adults. It’s as close as you can get to shaping the future of our world.