Amanda is currently studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary: English + History)/Bachelor of Arts and is in her 4th year at the University of Sydney. Having had over 4 years coaching experience and having worked with Art of Smart for almost 1 year, Amanda tells us why working with AOS is the perfect match if you are studying teaching!
There’s no doubt that university life is tough, particularly concerning employment. Bills to pay, classes to attend to, and even more stress if you are to add a part time job to that mix! Finding the balance is difficult, I know this from my own experience. For the first three years of my teaching degree I was working part time in fast food, doing the deathly night shift, so that I could still earn whilst completing my degree. Although this job helped me pay the bills and enjoy an income, it certainly did not help with my future career as a teacher.
After joining the Art of Smart team, I can most positively vouch for the benefits this career move has offered me. One of the most valuable arrangements with tutoring is that it often aligns well with university study, situated mostly in the afternoons and the weekends – but you are also in control of the hours you are available! Not only is this equilibrium between study and work commitments perfect, but the skills and experience you obtain from working with Art of Smart will be invaluable to your future career. You’ll finally be able to apply the theory you have learned at university into practice, and really discover how great teachers teach.
If the aforementioned information hasn’t been able to persuade you into grasping such a fantastic opportunity with both hands, then here are five reasons why working with Art of Smart is perfect for an early career teacher.
It exposes you to a range of teaching methods and strategies.
During university you are told numerous times about the importance of differentiation for students. However, it is often extremely difficult to know what this really means for students and how you teach. When you work with Art of Smart you are paired with a range of students, of many varying abilities, all of whom will require you to differentiate your knowledge to suit how they learn best. This has been such an invaluable learning curve for me as a beginning teacher, and I appreciate the experience of undergoing this task one on one with my students before applying it in the classroom.
You as a teacher are exposed a variety of topics and texts.
The nature of teaching is always evolving, and curriculums are never stagnant, therefore constantly being involved in the curriculum will allow you to be informed and experience throughout any changes to the curriculum whilst you undergo your studies. As an English teacher I can truly appreciate how working with Art of Smart has exposed me to numerous texts that I myself had not studied. Working with Art of Smart provides a great opportunity for you to stay informed within your curriculum areas whilst you are studying your degree.
The experience of lesson planning and creating resources is invaluable and particular resources you create you will also utilise in the classroom
At university you are taught how to design your lessons and align to the correct template. Planning lessons and lesson sequences is something that no amount of theory will prepare a beginning teacher for. Learning to adapt to student speed, ability, and the success or failures of particular activities is a skill that is learned purely from experience in a teaching environment.
Your communication skills improve.
Working with students requires an extent of professionalism but also a balance of coach and mentor, which can be sometimes a bit tricky to find the perfect balance. Working with students will improve your ability to communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively new informationto students. You’ll also learn which modes of communication works best for students depending on the information you are trying to transfer. This is one of the skills that can only be refined with experience, the biggest fear of the beginning teacher is to stand in front of a class of thirty teenagers and have no idea how to say what you need say.
Lastly, but certainly not least, you’ll improve your confidence in a position of knowledge and authority.
Being in the position of ‘expert’ whist working with Art of Smart has been one of the biggest boosters to the way I teach. The more I am exposed to teaching content and new ideas, the more I improve. Having the chance to also reflect on the process of your methods, and ask your student ‘how did you find today’, ‘what was good or not so good today?’ allows you to refine your teaching methods as a result of direct feedback from students. The level of confidence I have now when I approach a new student or new content is worlds apart from when I started working with Art of Smart. I can honestly see the benefits of this career choice, in which these benefits without a doubt will positively impact on my future teaching career.
In my honest opinion, the way you are taught to be a teacher and the way you learn to be a great teacher is deeply underpinned by experience. University equips you with the theory that provides the foundation of teaching, however, it is the practice that will craft your skills and create a great neophyte teacher.
Becoming a coach / mentor with Art of Smart is one of the most powerful stepping stones in my journey to becoming a fantastic teacher, and is one that I deeply recommend for any early career teacher.