20 strategies to use right now for teaching high school
There’s no doubt that teaching in high school is like no other kind of teaching. You’re responsible for delivering in-depth, rigorous content while managing large class sizes and teenage emotions.
These twenty strategies will keep you confident and in charge:
- Provide the rationale for assignments. Once students understand why they must do something, they’ll be more likely to get it done.
- Create a workshop environment for your classroom by providing materials for completing assignments.
- Less is more. Remove anything you’re not using during the grading period. If you can, eliminate the teacher desk, too.
- Stay organized by using color-coded folders for each period.
- Decorate your classroom with memes and student work.
- Seat hyperactive on the ends of rows so they’re less likely to disrupt others.
- Ask your students to make notes in class. When creating their notes by hand, they are more likely to retain what you’ve taught them.
- Use the ceiling tiles. Create a grid for math, identify the best classic literature of all time, or let students decorate a tile as a reward.
- Have some fun. Incorporate icebreakers or other ways to get students up and moving. Sitting in a chair for six hours a day is difficult.
- Create an assignment binder. Every time you give students an assignment, place a master copy in the binder. When students who have been absent return to class, they can see what they missed and get caught up without having you stop what you’re doing to help.
- Get to know every one of your students. With a teaching load of 150 or more students, knowing everyone can be difficult, but by getting to know them all as individuals, you’ve won half the battle.
- Have students take responsibility for refilling supplies when needed.
- Be visible in the high school community. As tired as you are, go to your students’ games and concerts to show how much you care about them.
- Encourage your students to be creative. Let them write songs about vocabulary or create skits to teach a concept back to their peers.
- Avoid confronting students about their behavior in front of their peers. Hold a private discussion away from everyone else.
- Show a quick video at the beginning of each class. You’ll have fewer tardies, and you can take attendance or handle other administrative duties during this time.
- Set personal boundaries. Students don’t need to know the details of your personal life. Leave those details at home.
- Be the adult in the room. Someone has to be in charge; that should be you, regardless how much students try to push back.
- Don’t take it personally. High school students may say mean things; don’t feed into their antagonistic behavior.
- Teach every day, including the first day of school. Your sense of urgency will be contagious.
Most of all, though, be yourself. Your students will appreciate you for who you are. Of course, it helps that you have some excellent ideas for teaching high school, too!