I always though being a mother was the most difficult job, until I started teaching. Instilling knowledge into the heads of a roomful of kids who want to do everything but learn can be tricky. It is a profession that requires wearing many different hats, and doing so helped me to fulfill my duties effectively and efficiently.
I had been teaching a few years when I realized that my students, whether consciously or unconsciously, were actually copying the way I behaved, spoke and acted. I experimented with this and found that if I used words like thank you, or excuse me they also used them frequently. If I spoke in a soft voice, I got the same in return. I used knowledge for maximum effect in subsequent years.
Counseling students takes on a major role in the teaching profession. I remember when seeing an A on an exam paper, one of my students burst out crying. I could not even begin to imagine why she would do that. It turned out that the mother expected to her to get perfect papers like her older sister, and nothing less was acceptable. It took many long, afterschool talks to get her to understand that she was not her sister and that was all right!
Laying down the classroom rules on the first day of school and enforcing them consistently during the year is absolutely essential to smooth running of the subsequent lessons. I had to sacrifice many of my own breaks to sit with punished students and make them do extra work for being disrespectful, or breaking any of the other rules. In the long run this paid off because students knew I meant business.
I hate to admit it, but there have been days when I have walked into the classroom unprepared for the job. It is as if these children have sensors embedded in them; they can just smell when a teacher is winging it. Those were the days that I walked out of the classroom most frustrated, and exhausted. Knowing what information I had to deliver in a lesson kept the children quiet and focused. Asking short content related questions in between, kept them attentive.
Sense of Humor
In one of my lessons dealing with how yeasts work, I inadvertently told the students about the time I was baking a cake and ended up using too much yeast. I had placed the dough in a cupboard for half an hour, thinking that it would be a nice, warm place for the dough to rise. I returned only to find the dough oozing out of the cracks! The children did not forget this story or the yeast lesson for the whole year.
This is one of my favorite tips, because I found that if I could laugh at myself, the children laughed with me.