Friday, December 18, 2020
Well, fellow teachers, we’ve finally made it to the end of 2020, and we hope that you are all feeling suitably pleased with yourselves for making it this far. When we first wrote about our online learning experiences back at the beginning of April, never in a million years did we think we would be writing about how much this year has affected us personally and professionally.
With a new year and renewed hope on the horizon in the form of a vaccine, we now turn our minds to the year ahead and how we are going to make sure it’s the best one yet. Our idea of ‘the classroom’ has gone through some changes recently and this will undoubtedly have an effect on how we face our future teaching and how we see ourselves as educators.
But what resolutions should we be making? If you’re stuck for ideas on how to approach your post-covid teaching, then take a look at our top ten New Year’s teaching resolutions for your classes in 2021.
There is always room for us to become more tolerant as teachers. The more we let ourselves get stressed out in class, the more every little thing will start to affect us. So, take some time to reassess your expectations and what you are prepared to tolerate in class, keep an eye on your levels of frustration and don’t let little things get to you. Students feed off your mood, so don’t allow that to be one of anger, stress and annoyance.
There is so much comfort in the familiar, and if there is one thing that this year has taught us, it’s that we can adapt pretty well to the unfamiliar if necessary. So, use this knowledge to do something outside of your comfort zone and teach something you’ve never taught before. Whether this be a new age-group or a new level, put yourself in the position of approaching something for the first time and appreciate how much you can grow as a teacher in the process.
Whilst we spend some time taking a break from our computer screens over the Christmas break, we should reflect on how much technology has helped us get through this year and really enabled us to deliver effective classes. So, why let it stop there? We can bring some of that newly-acquired knowledge into the classroom and make our face-to-face classes more technology rich, taking those skills and adapting them to suit your students’ needs.
We never would have believed a year ago that we could do half of the things we’ve achieved this year. Teach group classes online? Never. Assess teachers on a CELTA course online? No way. Have students submit all work electronically? Not a chance. You get the picture. So, go into this next year with a can-do attitude in the face of something which you would otherwise deem as highly unlikely or even impossible.
We wouldn’t have got very far in 2020 without collaboration and the support of our colleagues. This year, more than ever before, we were all starting something we didn’t feel comfortable with and we looked to our fellow teachers for advice and reassurance. Don’t let this camaraderie slip when you are all back in the physical classroom- continue to look to your colleagues for advice and let them know if you’ve done something in class that could be of use to them. In the immortal words of High School Musical, ‘we’re all in this together’.
In the switch to online teaching, we had to find ways to make the book work more relevant to the teaching situation and devise new activities surrounding the content. Put this innovation to good use and continue to think of new ways to bring your classroom material to life, so that you get the most out of every lesson. This doesn’t mean finding different material but using what you have in a more creative way.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of teaching and think that things are going badly if you’ve had a bad class. However, it’s important for us to think more about the bigger picture; the progress our students are making and what we have achieved over a longer period of time. Yes, our students might have some bad days and we might feel like our teaching could have been better, but if we look at the bigger picture, we’ll find there is plenty to be happy about.
After having to adapt our interaction techniques when teaching online, we are now having to think about how to make the most of socially distanced student-to-student interaction. In 2021, think about how to make this an even more prominent feature in your classrooms and ensure that you include plenty of stages in which students can interact with each other.
This year, you have learnt a whole new set of teaching skills which mean that you have become a much more flexible teacher. Use those skills to improve your in-person teaching too. Whether that be using PowerPoint more or ensuring that you use the electronic supporting material for your coursebook, take what you have learnt and put it to good use in your classes from now on.
2020 has really shaken things up in the teaching world and this should only be seen as a good thing. Teaching in the same way year after year can cause us to become somewhat stale in our approach to classes. This year has forced us to learn new things and to become more dynamic teachers. Continue this learning process by making sure you focus on professional development and finding new ways to enhance your teaching. Take a look at our free webinar series for 2021 and sign up for the ones you think you could benefit from.