Every year, teachers are encouraged to step up their game and improve on their teaching skills. Here are 7 ways you can develop your skills for a better school year.
1) Uncover the Why
Many times, when teachers are asked why they are teaching a certain lesson they respond with, “Because it’s in the curriculum”. If you are one of these teachers, then you already know the reason why you are having problems making your lessons livelier.
In order to infuse joy into every class, you need to sit down and list all the reasons you are teaching a particular course. Think hard about your personal reasons for teaching a particular lesson and use this reason to animate your class.
Am I teaching students about natural sciences to give them appreciation for everything around them? Am I helping them learn about mathematical operations so they can understand Algebra better in a few years’ time?
2) Evaluate Your Performance
After the school year ends, stop and think about everything that had transpired. Did you reach your goals for the year? Were there activities that you could improve on? Did your students appreciate you style of teaching? What worked and what didn’t work?
Asking yourself these questions can help you evaluate and revise your teaching style for the year to come. Gather everything you can about what happened to better prepare you for what will happen next. Reflect on how you want to move forward with teaching the next time you step into a classroom.
3) Let Your Curiosity Lead You
Oftentimes, inspiration can hit you while reading an interesting article in a magazine or when you’re strolling around a flea market. Collect everything that catches your eye. A nice photograph for a writing exercise, some quirky trinkets as subjects for art class or a handful of interesting rocks to help explain erosion are all potential classroom activities waiting to be explored.
4) Create Your Own Assessment Tools
If you’re starting the New Year with a brand new curriculum, then you have the opportunity to create your own assessment tools. Spend the summer or the break coming up with these. Don’t worry about planning for the entire year, instead start with creating a general overview of your year or term and take time creating really in-depth assessments.
Doing this is the best way to understand your new curriculum. With these assessments finished, you can then start attacking the lesson plans you have for the year or term.
5) Step Back A Little
Stressing about the coming year will only burn you out before you even enter a classroom. Relax and take a week or two away from the pressure of creating lesson plans and activities. Do something that interests you and recharge your batteries.
If you give yourself space to decompress, you’ll be fresh and ready to tackle the work that needs to be done.
6) Learn About Your School’s Evaluation Tools
If your school is transitioning into a new form of evaluation for teachers, then you should take it upon yourself to learn about it. Take note of the highest ranking and understand what makes an exemplary teacher in the eyes of this evaluation.
7) Meet with Fellow Teachers
Sometimes, inspiration will come from chatting with another teacher. If you have the opportunity to meet with a group of teachers, either form your school or from another, you should grab the chance to interact with them. You’ll never know what you’ll learn from spending the day with fellow teachers. You can all exchange tips and experiences.
You can try out new methods of teaching that have worked for others or you can model your lesson plan against that of another person who has a similar load. If you live in Arizona, you can even talk about the different Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments test prep activities that you all went through and laugh about the experience.
With these 7 steps, you can be sure that you will have the tools needed to start the new-year or new term as a better teacher. Work on your teaching skills and you’ll be a vast improvement in your students’ participation as well.