If interviewed, probably every classroom professional would admit the desire to be a better teacher. For this reason, teachers attend seminars, work on professional development, undergo evaluations, and study to stay current in their respective fields. There are, however, three easy and unexpected changes that most teachers can make right now in order to be better teachers.
Three Easy and Unexpected Tips to Being a Better Teacher:
- Read outside your field. All teachers know the importance of staying current and developing more deeply their area of expertise. But great value can also be found in developing interest and knowledge outside one's field. In doing so, teachers not only become more well-rounded individuals with a broader knowledge base, but they also become more able to foster connections with students who struggle to understand concepts within their classes. The teacher who is able to connect the concepts of literature to science, music to math, or physics to social studies is a rare commodity.
- Make your colleagues the focus of your attention. Every teacher is a bundle of strengths and weaknesses. Often we are most keenly aware of our own strengths and our colleagues' weaknesses. Instead, we should flip our focus. Study your fellow professionals. Notice what they are getting right and attempt to figure out why their methods work so well. While it's true that not every teaching style of methodology works for each teacher, it is also true that you may be able to cull some helpful techniques by studying their methods.
- Take care of yourself. Everyone, no matter how gifted, works better when they are happy, healthy, and content. It almost does not matter how knowledgeable or skilled you are as a teacher if you are dragging into the classroom burnt out and frazzled. More than your lesson plans, your discussion questions, or your high degree of preparation, your mood affects the tone of your classroom. To that end, place high value on rest and refreshment. Be sure that, if nothing else, you are eating well and getting enough sleep. Those two changes alone can do wonders for your mood.