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I recently heard an interview with Tom Jones asking how long he intended to work. His response: “I haven’t worked since 1968!” For me, teaching feels the exact same way, and I consider myself lucky. Most of my income is generated from doing something that I love and it rarely feels like work. If you want to learn tips for how to teach a class so that you can love your work, keep reading.
So when I continually got good reviews from my students, I assumed it was because I loved what I did and it showed. Truth be told, that is an element, but there are also some specific tactics to implement. Anyone who cares about their subject and has students who are there by choice can teach a class that their students will love and rave about.
The first thing to do seems obvious, but in case it isn’t, be thoroughly prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare any class handouts. Carefully consider what can be covered in the allotted time frame and draft a plan in the form an outline. If you are completely prepared, you will be able to talk not only about the topics you have specifically planned for, but surrounding topics as well.
Begin class by setting and managing expectations. Find out what your students are expecting to learn. If possible, adjust the class topics to meet their needs. For topics outside the realm of class, explain why that won’t be covered and – if possible – provide some other resources on the topic. When students know what to expect, they are happy when you meet or exceed those expectations.
Insert an element of fun and laughter into the learning process. Each instructor has to find their own style, but consider telling a funny story to illustrate a point, use an unexpected method for conveying information or make an unusual but poignant analogy. People remember fun and funny things more readily, which also results in a greater retention of the information shared.
Mix up the methods of sharing information. Not only will this help with the different styles of learning (visual, auditory, kinetic), but it also creates variety in the class. Even if your topic primarily lends itself to a lecture format, you can break it up by asking questions, giving mini-assignments to be completed in class or responding to student questions.
In the end, analyze evaluations with a critical eye. Great insights can be gained by carefully reviewing class evaluations. Although it can be difficult to read critical statements about your class and teaching style, the more improvements you are able to make, the more your future students will love your classes.
Want to gain even more insights on topics like how to teach a class and making a business from sharing your passion? Sign up for my class, How to Teach It. The course includes lots of great information, sample materials and provides an interactive interface that facilitates Q&A.