Isn’t it interesting when you find out what other people categorise as ‘essential’? I know that there are some women out there who have handbags packed with materials for any occasion. First aid, makeup, a snack for the road – it is all there. In my relief teaching, I often carry around my own set of resources for any occasion. My ‘teaching bag’, amongst other things, includes back-up lesson plans, stationery, a bell and a whistle, hand sanitiser (of course!), tea and a mug and plenty of stickers. I sometimes feel a little like Mary Poppins in that scene where she’s unpacking her bag and out comes the mirror and the coat rack! These things are helpful and important for my teaching, but I know that they’re not essential. In fact, if I were to bring ‘just the essentials’ along to a day of teaching, most of the material items I just listed wouldn’t be included. So what would I classify as ‘essential’ to teaching?
- I feel that it is important to have back-up lesson plans, but not essential. What is essential is having the ability to be flexible in your teaching and think quickly under pressure.
- It’s also important to have resources that help you with your behaviour management, however, it’s essential that you use clear communication, set high but attainable expectations and use plenty of encouraging words.
- It’s important to put measures in place to avoid your body from catching germs, but it’s essential that you sustain a healthy lifestyle not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too.
- It’s important to build relationships with your students, and sometimes bringing small rewards or even games to school helps them warm to you. The essential thing though is to have a compassionate heart, kind words, an interest in your students beyond what they achieve academically, courage to stay persistent and patience, lots of patience.
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