Professional Success Tips updated February 23, 2011
10 ways to help you achieve success as an occasional teacher:
Although the Education Act, Regulation 298, states that a teacher needs to be in the classroom 15 minutes before the commencement of classes in the morning, you should try to arrive earlier than the expected time. Be prepared, be on time for your duty, be at your classroom on time after recesses and lunchtime, and be punctual when giving planning time and/or returning from planning time.
2. Professional Dress
Strive to maintain a professional appearance by dressing “business casual” - No jeans! No shorts!
3. Familiarity with Board Policies
You should be aware that the Board has "General
Administrative Procedures" known as GAP.
Each school, including your OTBUnit office, has a copy of the GAP
binder. Familiarize yourself with Board procedures that are
relevant to you as a teacher, for example:
4. Class routines and Procedures
The children’s day should remain as regular and consistent as possible. Knowing school and class routines (duty schedule, attendance, washroom, early dismissal etc.) and procedures (health/injury/accident, fire drill, lockdown, etc.) will help your day go smoothly and help you adapt to the school environment in which you are working.
5. Role Model for Students
a) Body Language
As soon as the children see you, they are ‘sizing you up’. Your body language speaks louder than words. Be aware of your body, posture and facial expressions. Be happy, energetic, and courteous!
Children need to know that you are confident in your role as an occasional teacher. What you say and how you say it will show your level of confidence. Keep your tone pleasant, but also firm when you need to be. The words you choose are important. Vocabulary using positive reinforcement will encourage students, and enhance their self-esteem.
You should be acutely aware of what is taking place in the classroom. Paying attention is vital in classroom management, supervision, and ensuring students’ safety. Children will respond positively when they know you care.
6. Establish a Rapport
Building a rapport benefits both the children and you as it creates a positive environment where continuous learning can take place. Throughout the day comment on interests that you notice children are working on and/or are expressing.
During recess and lunch try to go into the staffroom as this will give you, and the staff, a chance to get to know each other. Establishing this rapport with staff could make your day a more pleasant experience and make you feel like part of the staff. It also gives the staff an opportunity to know you, your teaching abilities and if you "go the extra mile" when in the school that could lead to other daily occasional teaching jobs, and to LTOs that may become available at the school.
7. Written Communication
At the end of your day, leave a detailed factual note for the classroom teacher. Use proper sentences, vocabulary and grammar. You are judged by what you write and how you write. The same applies should you need to write notes to parents or the administration through communication books or agendas.
Many factors affect school and classroom routines such as late school buses, no coverage for the French teacher, fire drill, lockdown, etc. Your ability to adapt and change will help your students, school administration, as well as, yourself. Be flexible as long as it complies with your rights in the collective agreement.
9. Professional Ethics
Remember that any information about the students in the class is strictly confidential! If you need to inquire about a student, ask a teacher or the administrator privately. Comments about students and/or other teachers should not be made in the staffroom.
Should you have planning time and you have no preparation to do or no marking, help tidy the classroom. What would you do if it was your classroom? Take the initiative! Go the extra mile!
The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you want others do unto you.
Respect takes on many faces such as language, actions, personal space and cultural differences. For example, we expect a child to look at us when we are speaking to them, but forcing the child to do so may be disrespectful in their culture.