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Engaging Kids in the classroom can be a tricky. Getting their attention is one thing, keeping their attention is another. When you are supply teaching, this challenging yet rewarding task is part of your role and the more helpful tips you can get, the better.

Every teacher knows, it’s when the pupils minds switch off, that’s when they begin to misbehave and cause distractions for the other members in the class. Hence why creating lesson plans with solid teaching resources can be imperative.

You must also bear in mind that some kids have finally learnt to respect and abide by the rules their permanent tutor has set. So when they see a new face walk through the door, this is a sign for those kids to kick back, relax and enjoy the lesson the way they want to. Some may even view it as a free lesson! But once you command their attention and respect, they will begin to see the true value of a substitute tutor.

Here are some practical points that will help you to do this:

Keep it lively – the livelier and the more creative you make the tasks, the easier it will be for them to engage with not only the work you have set, but with you as a teacher. Brain teasers, puzzles and quizzes can be included in lesson plans as they are a great way of doing this instead of reciting text book paragraphs and lecturing.

Give your lesson meaning – this is one of the oldest tricks in the book but nonetheless, will work wonders for keeping your class engaged. By drawing parallels between the subject and points you are trying to explain to your students with real life examples, especially amusing and interesting stories or personal experiences, can help bring your subject to life. The students will easily connect with things they are familiar with. So keep the examples relevant.

Introductions are everything – The transition between different tutors can throw students out of their comfort zone. You can ease them in gently by a warm, friendly introduction where you give a short biography about yourself, are open to any questions and outline what you expect from the students.

Make them see the value– Kids are more likely to engage with what they are learning when they see the value in what they are learning. Help them to understand that taking part in specific actions will bring positive results.

Keep a solid structure – begin as you mean to go on. Let the class know what the lesson will entail and what they are expected to have learnt by the end of the session. To round things up, provide students with the chance to summarise what they have learnt through short write-ups, question and answer sessions or group brainstorming sessions.

Prepare them for the working world– In this digital age, kids are becoming familiar with technology whilst learning to walk. Encourage the use of learning with computer applications in the classroom. From blogging to photo editing, your students can have fun whilst learning practical content if the subject area complements it.

Have you struggled to keep the attention of your class before when supply teaching? What do you find helps?