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Tips to make me a better teacher?What are some tips to make me a better teacher?
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Middle School Teacher
This is the million dollar question in teaching. I can honestly tell you that you will not find one specific answer to this question. Heck, you might not even find one particular approach to answering this question. This is probably going to be moved to the "Discussions" section quickly because there will be many different insights. With this in mind, I will offer my own take.
I don't know what makes one a quality teacher. Part of this resides in one's definition of "quality." I think that one element that should be present is the power of reflection. Simply put, teachers need to reflect on their practices, their effectiveness, where there was failure, and where there was success. I don't think that teaching can be effective or represent quality without a sense of reflection. In this sense, we teachers are similar to our students in that we both have to keep working to get better. This lesson becomes easier to model and replicate to students when we demonstrate it ourselves.
I believe that another component of "quality" teaching should involve the construction of basic philosophical points of pedagogy that must be included in their teaching. Teachers have to have a couple of basic beliefs that will be active in their instruction at all times. This might be the employment of active learning techniques. It might involve the stress on collaborative learning. It might even be something small as fostering respect amongst students on a continual basis. Yet, I think that every teacher has to include some level of personal creed that must guide their instruction and focus their state of being in the classroom.
The final inclusion is that of classroom management. I don't know if we, as a profession, do a good enough job in explaining to younger (and even more seasoned) teachers about the idea of classroom management. There has to be an effective sense and sensibility in the classroom setting. If teachers do not have control of their classroom, no real instruction can transpire. I think that this is critical for all teachers. Quality teaching involves garnering and harnessing the attention of their students. In this focus is where quality instruction can be delivered. I think that this becomes critical.
Posted by akannan on July 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM (Answer #2)
High School Teacher
You will get all kinds of correct and helpful advice here, I know, but if I had to pick one thing--aside from the essential foundation of knowing your subject matter--every teacher should be it is consistent. Having clear boundaries and expectations is something students appreciate, and being consistent is so much easier on a teacher because so many decisions are already made. If you will not accept late papers, for example, students will learn not to ask if they can turn something in late--one less question to answer and one less decision to be made. There is always room to be flexible, of course, but for me this is the key to academic excellence and effective discipline in the classroom. Consistency prepares students for the "real world" and helps teachers be something students say they want all adults to be--fair.
Posted by auntlori on July 30, 2011 at 10:46 PM (Answer #3)
High School Teacher
Some of this may be new, some repetition.
I know that the students' perception of you, to a point, is important. You cannot be their buddy—they won't know how to take constructive criticism, redirection or correction in behavior because "friends" aren't supposed to be "mean" like that. Kids see so much in black and white: we are the ones that are perplexed by the shades of grey.
I would also make sure to be organized every day. Even if you don't get through everything, come to class (or be ready when they arrive) prepared. Papers should be in folders. Students have mentioned this when they would engage in casual conversation; kids notice everything.
Try also not to take things personal. This is hard. And if you have to discipline a kid, do it—even if it's a really good student. You may have favorites, but the kids shouldn't know it.
Like your kids—try to like all of them, and care about them. They may not be excited about the curriculum, but they'll never forget your concern, your encouragement and your attention. For some kids, your class may be the best part of their day—a refuge, an oasis.
Posted by booboosmoosh on August 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM (Answer #4)
One of the major things you need to do is to figure out who you are as a teacher. You will get bombarded with all sorts of "expert" ideas as to what a perfect teacher is. Everyone who writes a book or gives an in-service on the subject knows everything, but their ideas often conflict. You have to be able to understand what you want to be like. You have to know what way of classroom management and what way of presenting lessons and what way of relating to students is right for you. Sadly, teaching is not a profession where there is an easy way to find out what is right. You just have to be who you genuinely are. You can't try to be someone else's vision of a perfect teacher.
Posted by pohnpei397 on August 17, 2011 at 1:51 PM (Answer #5)
1. Choose a learning style that makes you feel motivated to teach.
2. Keep abreast of all the newest research on student expectation, and theories of learning and motivation (which go hand in hand).
3. Be willing to be flexible and expect the unexpected.
4. Use project-based instruction if you are more comfortable with seeing a good student product.
5. Do not do whole group instruction. Break groups into subgroups by skill and interest level. Allow students to facilitate each other. Act like a coach, not like a leader. The leader is whoever knows the most and, as far as we know, we all are experts at different things.
6. Forgive and be forgiven: That has been my most effective advice. Kids do things out of ignorance and lack of experience. We will make mistakes out of the same exact reasons. We are learning together. Forgive their mistakes, and your very own.
Posted by herappleness on August 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM (Answer #6)
Middle School Teacher
Posted by litteacher8 on August 24, 2011 at 8:35 AM (Answer #7)
Middle School Teacher
All of the above advice is great, and you need to reflect on which fits you. Pick and choose which you can use in your classroom. I would add two things to the discussion. The first is to have and USE a sense of humor including being able to laugh at yourself. The second is to keep changing your lesson plans to reflect what you have learned and don't be afraid to ask your students what would have helped them more with the unit you just finished. Students gave me amazing insights to simple things I could do to help them such as using a different color of ink on the white board to illustrate each example. Keep your ears open, ask questions, ask senior staff you trust, and enjoy watching the light go on when the students get what you are teaching.
Posted by mizzwillie on October 2, 2011 at 10:14 PM (Answer #8)
Great question, as you are primary teacher, you will need different instrument to be the best, your students are beginners, it will definitely need more effort to make them understand a topic, and there questions and queries will be exceptional. Try to teach them with fun mnemonics for example, teaching them the meaning of the word “carnage” tell them that in “car” five gangster came and “killed” many people. Tell them to form the image of “car and gangster inside the car killing people” so the meaning of carnage is “killing”. In making them memories the spelling of the words, use sound techniques. This will help a lot. Furthermore you should be very kind and tolerant with beginners.
Posted by s4ukgp on October 8, 2011 at 3:22 PM (Answer #9)
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