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The beginning of a new school term is exciting for students but it can also be exciting for the teacher, especially if you are new to the class – not to mention if the whole school and region is new. This article is to help you with ideas on how to start with a new group and how to build your classroom management, which will influence your ability to implement good pedagogy in mathematics.

  1. What do you think would be an ideal teaching environment for you?

Make a list of those things that you think would make your teaching and learning environment ideal; e.g. work peace, listening when someone is speaking, classroom is safe place to make mistakes, homework expectations and so on.

When you know what the most important things are for you in the classroom, you need to get the students engage and commit to them. You can do it by getting your students to agree to each principle: One of my principles is that you need to listen when someone has something to say. We all learn better if you don’t speak over each other? Students say yes, they agree. Principle by principle, you discuss with them by using this method. And later remember to remind them of principles and agreements if someone forgets!

  1. When the teacher remembers the names of students, he/she shows respect to the student. How to remember names of new students?

This works best by using a soft toy. Give the toy to a student and ask her name. What is your name? Lisa. Ask her a question. What is your hobby? She answers; Reading.  Then ask the whole class. Whose hobby is reading? Class will answer; Lisa’s. Ask Lisa to bring the toy to another classmate, preferably one she doesn’t know so well. Then you will ask again. What is your name? Mark. Ask Mark a question. What is your favourite colour? Blue. Whose favourite colour is blue? Mark’s. Continue until all students have had a go. At some point you can point to a student and make it like a game, check how much they are able to remember.

  1. Be flexible with your class plan. Keep in mind your pedagogical target but groups’ alertness may change. You need to understand that you can reach your target via different paths!
  2. Give positive feedback; not only for the correct math answer, but also for good effort, different approach. Put the students’ works on display. Show them how you respect their work.
  3. Do not raise your voice! It may be the moment you lose the respect of your students! This is hard but you must try.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is the teacher also learning, or only the pupils?
  • Are they all learning the same things at the same time, or are there individual differences?
  • Is the learning self-directed and totally individual, or is someone in charge of directing it?

I will share my answers with you

  • A good teacher learns constantly from the students.
  • Learning is a process and it does not happen at once to all involved.
  • Students learn as much from each other’s questions and answers as from the teacher/text/computer/app, etc.

No computer app, artificial intelligent computer aided instruction program, Internet site or worksheet will educate your students.  Some of these will capture their interests and hold their attention for some time but never will replace you, the teacher.

Education is a difficult profession, yet a beautiful one for those who love the challenges, want to be part of changing the world for the better and believe that children are the future.