If you are still using the same lesson plans day after day that you first originally created 20 years ago, it might be time to update your curriculum.
After all, two decades ago, trucker hats were in style and skinny jeans were not even a thought.
Things change! Your lesson plans and teaching style have to change right along with them.
(Of course, I am not recommending teaching in skinny jeans or even wearing them at any point actually.)
If you feel you are getting a bit stale in the classroom, your students have probably been thinking this for years.
We are always the last ones to know! Here are five steps you can take and incorporate instantly to better your teaching style and, in turn, make more of an impact on your students.
Be the Tech Master
I would like to say that students are the only ones who have shorter attention spans nowadays, but that is not exactly true.
Everyone has a shorter attention span, unfortunately! If we have to wait for more than 20 seconds on something or even get a little bit bored, we instantly take out our phones.
We are a society that is being controlled by a small electronic device that we keep in our pockets.
Rather than fight against technology, you need to embrace it in the classroom.
Use it in every lesson plan you create.
Find videos online that correspond with what you are trying to teach.
Use Google Docs with your students for creating all documents and presentations.
Create and update daily your classroom website with links to sites that your students could use to grasp the material better.
(However, as far as social media goes, don’t try to be the “cool” teacher and use that with your students.
Social media has more or less transformed into a place of hate and drama, so it is best to avoid it with your students.)
Borrow Ideas From Other Educators
Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, seek out other educators who are one or two steps ahead of you.
These teachers might be at your school already! Just ask around and see if the teacher down the hall has a great lesson plan in place for what you are trying to teach your students.
In addition, you can research online and find some simply amazing lesson plan ideas from teachers halfway across the world that will wow both you and your students.
Make Your Classroom an Experience
Remember in the Willy Wonka film how he finally opens his factory to those kids and their parents (including Grandpa Joe).
It was not just an ordinary factory with boring assembly lines.
It was an experience to be remembered! You need to do the same with your 30-foot by 20-foot classroom.
Make it something that will stand out when compared to other classrooms.
While you don’t have to have a pool of chocolate or an Everlasting Gobstopper in your room, you can create workstations, activities, experiments, and other things that will get your students talking.
Don’t Become Complacent
Do you remember when you landed your first teaching job and how everything was so brand new? You were willing to try anything to get your students excited about learning.
A new lesson plan was written out and tweaked all the way up until you delivered it to your class because you wanted to ensure it was the best you had to give.
Now when was the last time you felt like this and went above and beyond? It is time to regain your enthusiasm for teaching.
Go ahead and try new things.
You may believe the worst that can happen is a lesson plan fails.
Actually, the worst that can happen is that you keep on doing the same plans until you retire in 20 years.
Focus on the Complete Student
We all often get into the habit of just basing a student’s value on the grades they are earning in class.
But these kids are much more than just grades alone.
Try to get to know the complete child.
Open yourself up to learning about their lives and sharing your own experiences with them.
Just because a kid is an average C student does not mean they won’t be successful later on in life or have redeeming qualities that make them stand out above the rest.
After all, Elvis Presley’s Music teacher gave him an F and told him he could not carry a tune.
Elvis remembered that throughout his life as the only thing he ever flunked.
Don’t be the teacher that stomps on dreams instead of encouraging them.