How to Become an Expert Teacher
Choosing Your Teaching Focus
Have you decided a teaching career is the right path for you, but are still not quite sure what subject or age level is your best fit? While teaching can be a rewarding career, it can be a challenge if you don’t find the right subject matter or age group to work with. Once you take some time to find your focus, you can connect more easily with your students and find satisfaction readily, even in your first years of teaching.
In order to accurately pass certification exams and start teaching, you must have a good working knowledge of a variety of subject matters, proving you can teach the information to your students. Many students are required to pass state-standard tests which adhere to strict curriculum, and a wide knowledge base can influence your ability to help your students succeed.
Your understanding of the subject matter you teach ensures that your students are receiving accurate and helpful information to aid in testing. Of course, if you are interested in your subject matter, it can also make learning fun and allow you to reach your students with relative ease. Choosing a focus area, such as history or mathematics, or focusing on one age group that you relate to can help both you and your students, especially when it comes time to evaluate learning and retention.
The key reasons for choosing a specialty while you are still in teaching courses involve curriculum development and teaching style. It is important that a teacher is not only well informed in the subject matter he or she is teaching, but is able to enjoy the topic, enabling the teacher to think outside of the box and deliver content in multiple formats, reaching many types of learners.
Enjoying the content matter you teach will also make it highly likely that you will stay current in the subject and be aware of changes and advancements prompting you to share new information with your classroom as it arises. It may make sense to focus on a specialty that you already show interest in, exemplified by the news you read, the conferences you attend and the extracurricular activities you engage in.
Another factor to consider when deciding what school grade or subject matter to focus on as a teacher, is your ability to connect with a certain age group of children. Some people find they do not have much experience with small children and prefer to work with an older age group or vice versa. This will also affect how you can deliver information in effective methods to your audience. If you are moved by chemistry, but cannot work well with adolescents, your focus may be better suited to the elementary environment, where you can focus on science in general.
Connecting with the students in your classroom will help you manage difficult behaviors and maintain control in the classroom, which in turn will help maintain a positive learning environment for your students. Structured, calm environments are beneficial for both students and teachers, and allow for more instruction and one-on-one time. If you don’t have to focus on reprimanding students throughout the day, or researching your subject matter late into the night, you can expect better learning outcomes in your classroom. This can also provide for interruption-free lessons which are more conducive to students receiving information, and won’t leave you guessing at the answers to your students’ questions.
Taking the time to choose a focus while you are getting your teaching degree or certificate can significantly impact your role and abilities as an instructor. Take some time to explore the options for age specific courses or degree programs that allow you to focus on the subject matter you excel at while you are earning your degree.
The choice to specialize can benefit not only your own career, but the education of those students you will interact with for years to come.
Contact the schools on our site to learn more about your options for becoming a teacher today!