It’s a few weeks before school starts. Or mid-year.
Your supervisor tells you that you are now teaching a new subject.
A subject you don’t know a lot about.
You don’t have time to read and research. You definitely don’t have time for professional development or another webinar.
What do you do?
You get reacquainted with all the things that make you a great teacher.
You’re always looking for ways to improve your practice as a teacher. And while you may be confident in your ability to teach math or reading, you may feel less secure when teaching other subjects like science. Rebecca from Ratataz failed her first college chemistry test. Now she writes chem textbooks! She’s a great example of how we can all learn and grow even in complicated subjects!
Try these techniques to boost your confidence and become more comfortable teaching any topic.
Consider your strengths
- Make a list of the areas where you feel competent as a teacher.
- Write down the qualities you bring to the classroom and students that you know lead to successful learning outcomes.
- Consider activities you know work well with subjects you are confident in.
- Where could other resources such as prepared worksheets, a textbook, curriculum, or supplies fill in the gaps so you can focus on your strengths?
- Brainstorm a few ways you can apply your strengths to teaching a new subject.
- Think of a time when you overcame a challenge and needed a confidence boost. Maybe it was school related or in another area in your life.
- Write down the steps you took to overcome the challenge. What worked well? What would you never do again?
- Brainstorm how to apply what you learned from that experience to overcome the challenge of teaching a new subject.
- Think about a favorite teacher or a teacher who helped you when you were stuck.
- What did they do that really helped you learn a complex topic?
- What techniques helped you gain confidence?
- How can you apply what you learned from that experience to learning new subject matter?
- How can you pull inspiration from that teacher?
Find a mentor or advisor who can help guide you and give you advice. Maybe a mentor on a particular subject or perhaps a person who is experienced at teaching something new. Find someone who has walked this same path and can share their experience’s wisdom.
Practice. Teach the topic, use trial and error, have some epic fails, and succeed. The more you do it, the more confident you will become.
Take a break
Starting something new can be fun, challenging, and overwhelming. Be sure to rest and take breaks. Think about the self-care practices that work best for you. Taking care of yourself is a great model for your students, too.
Don’t feel the need to try all of these confidence boosters at once! Pick one and give it a try. Be confident in your ability to teach well and rely on your love of learning, and you’ll rock the new subject.
A New Way To STEM
RATATAZ helps kids find fun ways to explore and enjoy STEM, STEAM, and STREAM. In addition to being educational, our program also takes an approach with preparation for higher-level learning in mind.
Check out the RATATAZ STEM kits!