We’ve all had to struggle at some point in our life. We’ve all had that indescribable fear that grips you as a human being. Maybe you are scared of heights, maybe it’s a fear of rapid water, or maybe it’s feeling like you just won’t be able to make it.
As future science teachers, we’re all facing that right now. We aren’t quite sure if we are ready to be teachers yet, even with the excitement of student teaching on the horizon, there is always that little fear asking if we really will be a good teacher. But it’s also exciting! We get to try new things and experience our own classroom.
But once we get into the classroom, that’s when we will really begin to face our challenges (and our fears). The challenges that each teacher faces are rarely new, and they are rarely unique. We all face very similar challenges, just in different ways. I want to highlight a few of them and talk about some ways to deal with them!
This is a big one! Most pre-service teachers will ask, “How do I keep my kids engaged and interested in my content?”. That’s a hard question to answer because not every class is the same and not every student is the same.
- Don’t be repetitive
- Change it up every once in a while! If you are going to lecture, don’t do it every day!
- Step outside of your comfort zone
- If you typically stay in your classroom all day, take a day to go outside into nature and teach that way. It doesn’t need to be super exciting, but we all know kids love to be outside when you are teaching!
- Filling the needs of ALL of your students
Yeah, differentiation is hard. You never know if you have prepared a lesson that EVERY student can be engaged and learn in. But it is often about trying your best, think about the different scenarios with your class, and then ask other teachers for advice. Remember you aren’t alone. There isn’t a one size fits all, but if you are trying, you’ll make it happen.
PS. Talk to your students! They will definitely have ideas for how you can be better at teaching them!
- Being creative
This comes naturally to some people, but this is a personal challenge of mine. I often struggle with thinking of unique and creative ways to teach my students. I feel that often times what I am doing won’t be interesting enough or it’s something that will “smell too much like school”. That’s okay! You may think you aren’t doing enough, but if you are trying that hard, you care an awful lot (and that’s one of the most important parts!).
Manu Prakash and his team of researchers got creative. Not to teach, but rather for making a microscope that anyone can use and it’s no bigger than a piece of paper.
- Be curious and keep wondering more
This may not seem like a challenge, heck we are human and naturally curious, but it’s important and we often forget to do it. Keep up to date with the world around you and what science is advancing, your kids will learn a lot as they are growing up and you can’t slip up on your knowledge too. Remember: you don’t know everything, and you feasibly can’t, your students will always know something more than you but you can always research on the topic!
Be yourself. Go out there and do great. You may face challenges, but every person does. Don’t let your fears hold you back, and just get out there and be the best dang teacher you can be.
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