Over the course of my career in education, I've learned numerous strategies and received countless tips and pieces of advice on how to be a great teacher. So many things go into being an effective educator, and in this post I want to share one small thing I learned way back in 1994. I was taking a college course on physical education for prospective teachers, and one day the instructor shared with the class what I consider to be one of the simplest yet best teaching tips I've ever received.
The class was meeting outside on the grass field one day, and before beginning her lesson, the instructor looked up into the sky, adjusted where she was standing in relation to the students, and then told the class something I've never forgotten -- "Never have your students face the sun."
So simple, yet so powerful. Think about it. You're outside with your students giving them directions about an activity the class is about to begin. If your students are looking into the sun, they're more than likely going to be distracted by the blinding light of that large fireball in the sky. They're probably thinking, "Man, this sun is bright!" If they're distracted by the sun in their eyes, they're not completely listening to you. They may be quiet, but through squinted eyes, they're probably not fully engaged. Plus, it's simple courtesy. You have sunglasses, your students don't.
We learned at a young age not to stare at the sun. Let's not make our students do so when our classroom is the great outdoors.
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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