I have been thinking a lot lately about what qualities a good teacher has. I have worked with many of them and here is what I have gleaned from how they teach:
- Collaborate – Planning lessons with each other and listening to each other’s ideas is paramount in improving the craft of teaching.
- Watch Each Other Teach – Seriously, give up some of your conference time to watch a fellow teacher. It doesn’t even have to be the subject you teach, although it is enlightening to see another educator teach a lesson you planned together. I cannot tell you how much I have learned by watching my colleagues.
- Read, Read, Read! – I know some teachers who NEVER read for professional development. If you do no other self-selected PD, at least read up on how you can improve your content knowledge or teaching pedagogy. There are books, blogs, articles, videos, etc. If you can’t find the time or inclination to do this, how can your teaching get better? We are supposed to be experts in the classroom, let’s act like it!
- Try New Things in the Classroom – We want our students to take risks in the classroom, but we do not always model this. Find a lesson that you have always wanted to try…and then DO it. If you fail, so what? Try it again a different way until you are happy with it. Get feedback from your students. Trust me, they will tell you whether or not the lesson worked!
- Keep Improving – Do not give up trying to better yourself as a teacher. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of free professional development opportunities on the internet. We owe our students the very best and it is our duty to show them the value of education and how important it is to never stop learning. It begins with us.