Think back to when you were in school – did you have teachers that were just, well, to be honest, bad teachers? Or maybe there are some teachers you know now who are just simply not that effective?
It is certainly not our job to point fingers or critique others, but what we absolutely should do is take a long, hard look at ourselves and make sure that WE are not falling into any of these bad habits.
- Focusing on being liked.Everyone wants to be liked, but if we keep thinking about how we want our students to like us, this is absolutely going to affect our teaching. And not in a good way. We need to focus on being a good teacher whom our students can respect. This means seeing ourselves as their mentors, not their cronies. Ironically, students normally end up liking teachers they respect more than the ones who are trying to be the “cool teacher.”
2. Shouting at the students. I think all of us have shouted at students at some point, but if this is your habit, it is not a good one. Shouting and calling your students derogating names rarely produces any good results (trust me they loathe you like mad and tag you with monikers) and almost always results in a loss of respect and lack of interest in your teaching. So instead of berating students and flying off the handle, try taking a deep breath, getting quiet, then calmly but firmly saying what needs to be said.
- Letting little things go.According to Linda Kardamis, when she first started teaching she let a lot of little things slide because she did not want to smack students on the head for seemingly insignificant misbehaviour. The problem, though, is that if you fail to address little problems, they fail to stay little. They quickly grow, and soon your class is out of control and you are definitely not effective (at least that is what happened to her). What she learned was that she needed to address each issue, even if it was simply saying something to handle the issues immediately.
4. Being inconsistent. It is tough to be consistent, says Linda Kardamis, believe me, I know. But being inconsistent in our classroom management leads to a multitude of problems. So we have to do it. We have to learn to be consistent.
- Failing to properly prepare. We all have days that we realise last minute that we forgot to make copies of that worksheet we really need, but if we find ourselves habitually starting class not sure what we are doing today, we are in trouble. Yes, we might make it through the class, but we are certainly not going to be as effective as we could be if we had prepared adequately. So, let us determine to do our best to prepare as much as possible. And if you are feeling completely overwhelmed, do what you can now and try to put in the work over the next term so you are not in this position again.
6. Being defensive.Whether it is a student, a parent, or an administrator who is criticising us, when we get defensive we rarely deal with the issue correctly. We need to seek first to understand and be open to the possibility that there might be a better way. We will grow as teachers and also gain a lot of respect. A little humility sure goes a long way.
7. Thinking that you have figured it out. Whenever we start to think that we have got it all, that we do not need to keep learning and growing, we start stagnating. And we are less effective than we could be if we kept looking for new ideas and better ways to teach.
With these few points on how not to be ineffective, I think we are ready to begin the new academic year with a difference.
This is MySchoolArena saying “Teach With A Difference!”