Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Hey there, fellow educators!
As we bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of the academic year, we find ourselves at the threshold of a much-needed break: the glorious summer vacation. While some might envision teachers lounging on sandy beaches, sipping fruity drinks, and enjoying endless relaxation, the reality is that our time off is much more precious than that. As a current teacher myself, I understand the importance of making the most out of our time away from the classroom. So, let’s explore some fantastic ways we can recharge, grow, and make this summer unforgettable!
Unwind and Recharge
First things first, take some well-deserved time to unwind and relax. Teaching is a rewarding yet challenging profession that demands our mental and emotional energy throughout the school year. Use this summer break to rejuvenate yourself. Whether it’s spending a lazy day reading your favorite book, indulging in hobbies, or simply binge-watching your favorite shows, cherish this time of rest and self-care.
Travel & Explore
Traveling not only broadens our horizons but also rekindles our creativity and passion for teaching. Exploring new places, cultures, and cuisines can inspire us in unexpected ways. If you can, plan a trip to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit. However, if travel isn’t in the cards, become a tourist in your own town or city. There’s always something new to discover nearby!
Summer vacation is the perfect time for personal and professional growth. Consider attending workshops, conferences, or online courses to expand your teaching skills and knowledge. Engaging in professional development not only benefits you but also enriches your classroom and benefits your students.
Reflect & Set Goals
Take some time to reflect on the past academic year. What worked well in your teaching practices? What could be improved? Set goals for the upcoming year, both for yourself and your students. Goal-setting provides a sense of direction and motivation to start the new year with renewed enthusiasm.
Connect with Colleagues
Summer is a great opportunity to reconnect with fellow teachers. Organize informal meet-ups, picnics, or potlucks. Sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, and supporting each other can create a stronger and more vibrant teaching community.
Pursue Passions & Hobbies
Remember those hobbies and interests you had to set aside during the busy school year? Now’s the time to pick them up again! Whether it’s painting, gardening, playing a musical instrument, or engaging in sports, invest time in your passions. These activities provide a healthy outlet for stress and enhance your overall well-being.
Volunteer & Give Back
Summer is not just about leisure; it’s also an excellent opportunity to give back to the community. Look for local volunteer opportunities that align with your interests and skills. Whether it’s tutoring, mentoring, or participating in community events, making a positive impact can be incredibly fulfilling.
Plan for the Classroom
Although it’s essential to relax during the summer, a little classroom preparation won’t hurt. Organize your teaching materials, update your lesson plans, and brainstorm fresh ideas for the upcoming year. This way, you’ll start the new school year feeling more prepared and confident.
As teachers, we play a vital role in shaping the future of our students, and to do that effectively, we need to take care of ourselves first. So, make the most of this summer vacation, embrace the sun, and let it invigorate your spirit. Here’s to a well-deserved break filled with relaxation, growth, and lots of unforgettable moments!
Enjoy your summer, and see you in the next academic year, recharged and ready to make a difference!
With sunny smiles,
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Hello, fellow speaker! Are you ready to conquer the stage and captivate your audience with your words? Public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience, but fear not! In this blog post, we’ll explore some invaluable tips to help you become a confident and engaging ‘sage on a stage’. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive in!
#1: Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is the first step towards delivering a memorable speech. Research their demographics, interests, and knowledge level to tailor your content accordingly. Speak their language, incorporate relatable anecdotes, and address their pain points. Remember, your ultimate goal is to connect with your audience on a personal level.
#2: Structure Your Speech
A well-structured speech can make all the difference in keeping your audience engaged. Begin with a compelling opening that grabs attention, followed by a clear introduction of your topic. Organize your main points logically, supporting them with relevant examples or stories. Finally, end with a strong conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.
#3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Rehearsing your speech is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the content and practice it aloud multiple times. Pay attention to your tone, pace, and body language. Consider recording yourself or rehearsing in front of a mirror to assess your delivery. The more you practice, the more confident and natural you’ll become on stage.
#4: Embrace Non-Verbal Communication
Effective communication extends beyond words. Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Stand tall, maintain eye contact, and use appropriate hand movements to enhance your message. Be mindful of your posture and avoid fidgeting. Confident body language will help you establish a strong presence and connect with your audience.
#5: Utilize Visual Aids
Visual aids can reinforce your message and make it more memorable. Use slides, props, or multimedia presentations to complement your speech. However, be cautious not to overload your audience with too many visuals. Keep them simple, clear, and visually appealing, while serving as a visual support to your spoken words.
#6: Engage Your Audience
Interaction is key to keeping your audience engaged throughout your speech. Encourage participation by asking rhetorical questions, inviting volunteers, or using audience polls. Incorporate moments for small group discussions or brief activities to break the monotony. Consider using live quizzes that the audience can participate in using their devices (e.g. Kahoot!, Blooket and Quizlet Live). Remember, an engaged audience is more likely to retain your message. They’ll also be happier and will enjoy themselves during your presentation, and you’ll be more likely to get referrals afterwards.
#7: Connect Through Storytelling
Humans are wired for stories. Incorporate personal anecdotes, real-life examples, or relevant narratives to connect with your audience emotionally. Stories evoke emotions, enhance relatability, and help your audience connect the dots. Make your speech memorable by sharing stories that resonate with your audience.
#8: Be Authentic
Authenticity is the secret ingredient to captivating your audience. Embrace your unique voice, personality, and style. Avoid imitating others or trying to be someone you’re not. Embrace your imperfections and let your genuine passion for the topic shine through. Audiences appreciate speakers who are genuine and relatable.
#9: Handle Nervousness
Even the most seasoned speakers experience nervousness. Embrace it as a natural response and use it to your advantage. Channel that energy into enthusiasm and excitement. Practice deep breathing, visualization, or other relaxation techniques before stepping on stage. Remember, nervousness is a sign that you care, and your audience wants you to succeed.
#10: Seek Feedback and Learn
After each speaking engagement, seek feedback from trusted sources. Analyze what worked well and areas that need improvement. Join public speaking clubs or workshops to refine your skills further. Remember, mastery takes time, so be patient and committed to continuous growth. If you would like to earn a Certificate in Public Speaking, then check out my Powerful Public Speaker programme, which can be delivered online wherever you are in the world (or on-site, if you happen to live in Thailand).
Congratulations! Armed with these public speaking tips, you’re well on your way to becoming an exceptional speaker. Embrace the opportunity to share your ideas, inspire change, and leave a lasting impact on your audience. Remember, every great speaker started somewhere, so don’t let fear hold you back. Embrace the stage, believe in yourself, and let your voice be heard!
Hey there, fellow educators and Instagram enthusiasts! Today, I want to talk about a nifty feature on everyone’s favorite photo-sharing platform: Instagram Threads. We all know that Instagram is great for sharing snapshots of our lives, but did you know it can also be a fantastic tool to support teaching and learning? That’s right! In this blog post, I’ll walk you through some creative ways teachers can leverage Instagram Threads to engage their students and make learning a whole lot more exciting. Let’s dive in.
#1: Creating a Private Classroom Community
Imagine having a space where you can interact with your students outside the traditional classroom setting. Instagram Threads provides just that! You can create a private group solely for your class, allowing for open discussions, sharing resources, and fostering a sense of community. It’s an excellent platform to keep the conversation going beyond the classroom walls and make learning a collaborative experience.
#2: Sharing Timely Updates and Reminders
Remember those times when you had to make last-minute announcements or reminders, and you wished your students could see them instantly? With Instagram Threads, you can quickly post updates, reminders, or even schedule them in advance. It ensures that important information reaches your students promptly, and you can bid farewell to those “I didn’t know about it!” excuses.
#3: Encouraging Visual Storytelling
Instagram is all about visual content, and Threads takes it up a notch! As a teacher, you can leverage this feature to encourage your students’ creativity through visual storytelling. Assign projects where students can capture and share images or short videos related to the topics they’re studying. It adds an exciting dimension to learning and allows students to express themselves in unique ways.
#4: Instigating Dialogue and Debates
Discussion is an integral part of education, and Threads provides an ideal platform for fostering meaningful conversations. Teachers can initiate discussions by posting thought-provoking questions or prompts related to the lesson material. Students can then respond, share their perspectives, and engage in healthy debates. This helps develop critical thinking skills and encourages active participation.
#5: Showcasing Student Work
Who doesn’t love recognition and appreciation for their hard work? Instagram Threads can be an excellent avenue for showcasing student achievements. Create a designated space to highlight exceptional projects, artwork, or any other outstanding work by your students. Not only does this motivate them, but it also inspires others and creates a positive classroom culture.
#6: Conducting Virtual Q&A Sessions
Want to provide additional support or address student queries outside regular class hours? Instagram Threads offers a seamless way to organize virtual Q&A sessions. Dedicate specific time slots where students can post their questions, and you can respond with detailed explanations or clarifications. It promotes active learning and demonstrates your commitment to student success.
Remember, while Instagram Threads can be an incredibly useful tool, it’s crucial to prioritize privacy and ensure all interactions are conducted in a safe and secure manner. Always adhere to your school’s guidelines and obtain necessary permissions from parents or guardians.
So, there you have it! Instagram Threads can be a game-changer when it comes to supporting teaching and learning. By tapping into its features, teachers can create engaging, interactive, and visually appealing learning experiences for their students. So why not give it a try? Your classroom is just a click away from a vibrant online community.
Stay connected, stay inspired, and let’s explore the incredible possibilities that Instagram Threads brings to our educational journey. Happy teaching, everyone!
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Firstly, I’ll begin with a big hello and a salute to every teacher reading this right now. Many of us taught through the grueling COVID years and made it (unscathed, albeit exhausted) to the other side.
That is an achievement in and of itself.
Those of us who stayed in teaching have shown tremendous resilience. COVID destabilized so many schools and demoralized so many teachers – so much so, that more teachers are leaving the profession than those that are applying for open vacancies.
For those of us who did decide to stick to our guns, post-pandemic teaching has brought with it some new challenges that were somewhat unexpected:
- Children are fed up of doing online tasks, and now expect more human-interactivity in lessons. Teachers need to be more active within their lessons than ever before – we simply cannot get way with setting our kids some work to do whilst we check e-mails and do admin. This kind of dovetailing simply cannot happen anymore.
- AI has been thrust upon us – possibly the biggest challenge to education since COVID
- Many of our students are way behind, since they picked up misconceptions and did not learn deeply enough during the COVID years. Many of us are now trying to teach advanced concepts to children who have little foundational knowledge.
- The ways in which we taught students before COVID are not necessarily the ways we should teach students in the post-COVID years
As a result of these challenges, we need to be more organized than ever before if we are to stay in the game. So, are you ready to level up and become even more efficient? Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’re going to explore five practical ways you can boost your efficiency in 2023 and beyond. Get ready to embrace new strategies, tools, and ideas that will make your teaching journey a breeze. So, let’s dive right in!
#1: Embrace the power of technology (but don’t let it take over)
In this digital age, technology is your trusty sidekick. From interactive whiteboards to educational apps, find tech tools that align with your teaching style and make your life easier. Harness the power of online platforms for grading, communication, and lesson planning. Let technology be your secret weapon in conquering classroom chaos!
- Utilise live quiz apps like Blooket, Quizlet Live, Quizziz, Kahoot! and iSpring Quizmaker to get your students interacting with lesson content. It’s important that the teacher is active during these tasks too – comment on scores along the way, use humor and walk around the classroom to help students.
- Use G Suite tools to aid with collaborative project work. Google Sheets, Docs, Sites and Slides all allow students to create high-quality outputs in real-time, in groups. Think of ways to utilize these tools to your advantage. Some ideas are given here.
- Utilise Virtual Learning Environments to share resources and communicate with your students. Google Classroom, Firefly, Moodle and Class Dojo are all great platforms that I highly recommend. Share slides and summaries ahead of time if you can – this will allow your students the opportunity to read ahead.
Technology warning – do not replace human teaching with technology-driven teaching. Whilst there’s so much great software out there that will literally teach children all they need to know about a subject or topic, the children attending school today do not want this. They’ve had enough of educational software as they were heavily exposed to it during the COVID years when they were learning remotely. It’s back to basics, I’m afraid – paper-based tasks, spatial learning and active engagement are in-vogue and will be for some time to come.
#2: Streamline Lesson Planning
Create a system that saves time and energy during lesson planning. Organize resources, templates, and activities in a central location for easy access. Collaborate with fellow teachers and share ideas to lighten the load. Remember, a well-planned lesson is a successful lesson! Read my top 7 strategies for efficient lesson planning here. Here’s a quick summary:
- Plan in a way that works for you personally: The methods of lesson planning that I use personally have changed and evolved over the course of my career, just as I have changed and evolved too. The methods I use work for me, and that allows me to express myself in the best and most natural way possible.
- Always get a quick starter activity ready: You’ll often find that there are many great workbooks full of activities and worksheets published and ready for you to use. A small investment of money in resources like this can save you loads of time that you may have spent making resources from scratch.
- Always include a quick plenary: This can be as simple as getting the students to stand at the front of the class and do some quick-fire questioning, playing a learning game or even getting groups of students to verbalize their own summary.
- Keep your plans and reuse them year after year: There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Keep your planners safe and organised and use them again and again when you teach the same or similar content. Modify as you go along.
- Look online for Schemes of Work, Programmes of Study and lesson plans that other people have created: You’ll be surprised at the wealth of information available. I’ve personally done this many times in the past. A quick search on a search engine can pull up many documents that you can use, modify and change to suit your own lesson planning.
- Use published Schemes of Work to assist you: All examination boards produce Course Guides or syllabuses, and some will even provide Schemes of Work. Use the content from these to inform your lesson planning, particularly if you’re filling in an ‘Objectives’ or ‘Learning Outcomes’ section.
- Take a long-term view: If you teach students who will take exams in May, for example, then you should know which exact topics you’ll need to cover each month in order to give you enough time to do revision and get the students ready for their exams on time.
#3: Automate Routine Tasks
Don’t let paperwork and administrative tasks steal your precious time. Seek out apps and software that automate grading, attendance, and reporting. Free yourself from the never-ending stack of papers and focus on what you do best—teaching!
Check out these blog posts and sites for some great ideas on how to automate some of your routine work:
- Automated schools: 7 school processes you can automate [Jotform, January 2023]
- 6 Ways to Use ChatGPT to Save Time [Edutopia, March 2023]
- EdTech Evolution: Automating Administrative Tasks and Processes Using AI [Educating Adjuncts]
#4: Prioritize Self-Care
I’ve mentioned this point many times before in blog posts and podcast episodes, but I really must emphasize again that we must PRIORITIZE self-care.
When we look after ourselves, we are better able to teach. It’s that simple.
Burnt out, stressed teachers occupy too many classrooms (often through no fault of their own). We must do what we can to counteract the stressors that affect us.
Being an efficient teacher starts with taking care of yourself. Remember to recharge your batteries, both mentally and physically. Get enough sleep, exercise, and enjoy hobbies outside of the classroom. A happy teacher is a highly efficient teacher!
Read more tips on how to be a happy teacher in this great blog post by Jessica Robinson.
#5: Embrace Flexibility
The ability to adapt and be flexible is a superpower in the ever-changing world of education. Embrace innovative teaching techniques, experiment with new approaches, and adjust your lesson plans to meet your students’ evolving needs. Stay open-minded, and your efficiency will skyrocket!
Read this great blog post by Gill Murray (Founder of Alba English Class Online and Homestay) on the topic of being a flexible and adaptable teacher for some great tips you just can’t miss!
We stayed in the profession despite the massive challenges we faced during COVID, yet new challenges have presented themselves since schools reopened. Being a teacher in the post-COVID years is, and is going to be, more challenging than it has ever been before. For those of us who are tired and fed up, we MUST find ways to raise our energy levels so that we can engage our students. Our paperwork, once a task we could partly do within lessons, must be completed in our free periods and our free time – and that requires good organizational systems to be in-place.
On top of all of these new challenges we face professionally, we also find ourselves on a common personal battlefield – that of our wellbeing. Here’s a big newsflash just in case you missed the memo – your school, your district and your government are NOT responsible for your personal mental and physical health and will probably do little to help you anyway. We must prioritize our own happiness and wellbeing. For some of us (me included), this means that everything must change – from how we wake up in the morning, to how we embrace fitness opportunities and get deep, restful sleep.
Recommended further reading
- Barnum, M. (2023) “The teaching profession faces big post-pandemic challenges – Chalkbeat,” Chalkbeat [Preprint]. Available at: https://www.chalkbeat.org/2023/6/27/23774375/teachers-turnover-attrition-quitting-morale-burnout-pandemic-crisis-covid