Teaching has an incredible power to shape minds and develop students into better emergency service workers. A great instructor looking for tips on effective teaching will reach out to other teachers and learn independently. Here’s what current fire instructors should know before trying their hand at teaching.
Develop Your Knowledge
No teacher enters a classroom knowing their topic completely, even if they’ve taken many classes on the subject. Many go through years of researching their study and learning from others who have a broader knowledge of the topic.
Before entering the classroom, start by first learning your topic—do this six months to a year in advance. Don’t just read books; meet with masters of the subject and learn from them.
Additionally, learn from your students. Sometimes, they’ll know something you don’t, and you can learn a lot from them. Remember, your students will come from different areas of the field, especially if they have already learned about the topic and want to become an instructor like you.
Share Your Experiences
Your knowledge isn’t the only thing that will boost your time as a trainer. Experience is another important element that backs what you’re stating, and shows the emotion of living through the topic you’re discussing.
Let’s take firefighter equipment as an example. Every emergency worker has the equipment to get them through jobs, especially firefighters. Your knowledge of firefighter gear on the job significantly impacts how you experience certain situations. You can discuss how a flashlight helped keep you safe in dark places, and how the bar you used to break through windows helped you get to victims.
Good Connection Skills
Depending on the class size, you need to be careful of how you share perspectives to relate to students. Teachers tend to vary in how they relate to their audiences. For example, a doctor that teaches a first-aid certification course might not have any way of relating content to fire emergency crews.
When you’re relating to students, share experiences you’ve had in your career as it relates to the class’s topic. Like the example above about equipment, you need to share your experiences for others to feel comfortable enough to share theirs.
Be Passionate About the Subject
You should care about the subject you teach. When you find passion in something, you stick with it and consume all the knowledge you can on the topic. When you’ve learned enough, the energy you’ve exuded in your passion rubs off on a student.
Passion is an effective strategy for succeeding as a fire instructor. Students can’t effectively learn without knowing if their instructors are passionate about the topic. In other words, students won’t see the reason to know or care if you show no passion in class.
Becoming an instructor is hard, but only if you do not know your topic. You can successfully become a teacher by learning your subject and becoming passionate. Keep these things in mind as you venture into your new, rewarding field.