It is a fact that experienced and excellent teachers still struggle with certain aspects of their teaching. Examples like time management because of work overload, assessment, adapting to a new curriculum, getting stuck in teaching strategies that are not effective, not keeping up to date with new research on the way learners learn are but a few that impair their teaching ability. Being experienced does not mean that someone already knows everything. Rather, the experienced person because of the experiences and the knowledge gained is well equipped to have new experiences and learn from them.
If you have been a teacher in South Africa since 1997 you have gone through some major curriculum changes, Curriculum 2005; NCS; RNCS and the latest CAPS. During all of these you had to adapt to new knowledge, skills and subjects that was not part of your training to become a teacher. You had to learn, unlearn end relearn. And in all of this you have to keep your passion for teaching alive.
One way to keep the passion alive is to mentor novice teachers. Sharing your ideas and best practices also makes you reflect on your own teaching. As a mentor you have to lead by example. The upside of mentoring new enthusiastic teachers is that you can also learn from them. New teachers have new ideas and new perspectives. They are often experts in areas that experienced teachers are not and they bring energy and enthusiasm to the table.
Find and create supportive networks
Networks are invaluable for teachers to meet other experienced teachers, exchange good practices, plan lessons, assess learner work together, bringing in inspiring keynote speakers and experts, discuss new books, blogs and research. A mistake made by many teachers is to try to go it alone. Don’t hesitate to seek answers and suggestions from others with experience. Reach out for support. Ask for help from colleagues. Collaborate.
Keeping up to date
Asa teacher you have to realise that teaching is a lifelong learning process and as such you sometimes have to move out of your comfort zone. The world is always changing, along with the curriculum and educational technology, so it’s up to you, the teacher, to keep up with it. A teacher who is always willing to go that extra mile to learn will always be an effective, successful teacher.
Macmillan Education has developed some amazing and creative resource books for the Foundation Phase based on CAPS. These books empower teachers to make their own resources for Foundation Phase Maths, Life skills, Language as well as ECD and Grade R. As a significant part of the Foundation Phase is play based, the resources and tasks in these books have been chosen with the knowledge of play-based learning as the driving force.
The ‘Step into Science’ for Foundation Phase as well as Grade R and ECD explains the scientific and technological processes. Their creative and well thought out activities fall under the Life Skills learning area: Beginning Knowledge. The activities and experiments will stimulate learner’s curiosity for the world around them.
‘Teaching Physical Education in the Foundation Phase’ covers the PE curriculum, is filled with tips and teaching strategies. Learners will love the creative and fun-filled activities. Clear instructions are given with teaching tips from Physical Education experts.
- It seems appropriate to end this article with a quote from Jesse Jackson: ‘You cannot teach what you don’t know. You cannot give energy if you’re not on fire on the inside.’