Having a guest speaker in your classroom is probably better than when the TV on wheels rolled into your classroom. They’re new, fresh, and hopefully engaging.
Many teachers bring in guest speakers to illustrate points in their lesson plans, and give students a break, but I believe guest speakers have the power to do so much more. Here are 8 reasons you should invite more guest speakers into your classroom:
Hate to say it, but students are probably bored of your teaching methods and class. Break up the monotony with a guest speaker. They’ll speak at a different pace, use different teaching aids, and engage with students differently. Plus, it’s an opportunity for students to interact with unfamiliar people and get comfortable talking to other adults – always a plus for networking down the road!
This is my favorite reason on the list because I love to learn something new. When I had scientists come in to class, travelers, and even firefighters, I learned a ton – even if it had nothing to do with the class I was in. Learning new, interesting things is part of education, and guest speakers are often overlooked as one of the better sources.
Have you ever gotten to a point in your semester’s curriculum where it might be better for someone else to teach the section? That’s a perfect scenario for guest speakers (or another teacher if that’s easier). Having another person teach a quick section of your class is a nice break for students – and it lends a different perspective, as I point out below.
A lot of schools struggle with good “town-gown” relations. Some are disliked by the community while others prosper. One of the best ways to get in good graces is by working with community leaders and organizations to bring in their staff to speak to students about what they do and how it relates to the curriculum. You’ll be making new friends in town in no time.
There are many professionals who would jump at the chance to come speak to a classroom full of your students. If you’re an elementary school teacher, interactive science demos would be neat. In middle school? How about a world-travel presentation from someone who’s done a lot of globe-trotting? And if you teach high school students, what about an intro to personal finance or a college admissions counselor? At any level, reach out to businesses in your area. You’d be surprised at what you find.
Bring your parent to work day is super-fun. But, what if someone has a not-so-fun job? (I mean, how long can you listen to an accountant talk about what they do?) Offer another option like displaying a hobby or fun side project they worked on. Parents like to be involved and see that their child is proud of them – and vice versa.
Sometimes it takes a guest speaker to hammer a point home. Whether it’s from their personal or professional experience guest speakers have the chance to make an impact. For example, when I was going through driver’s education, we listened to a father who lost his daughter in an auto accident because she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Lesson learned. I don’t turn the car on until I have my seat belt on.
You see your student’s smiles on their faces when someone amazing walks through the door. That’s what makes it all worth it — especially when you bring in someone students know. I remember when my college would host a speaker series. The excitement on campus was unforgettable.
Have you brought a lot of guest speakers into your classroom? How do they benefit your students? Do they detract from the curriculum? I’d love to start a discussion about why you’re pro or con on bringing in guest speakers. Start the discussion off below.