When thinking about things to share as a teacher, I thought about topics of discussion between teachers at the beginning of the school year. We all worry about being effective. So, how do you know if you are an effective teacher? For me I gauge my effectiveness by how much my students have grown academically and socially. So I thought about things I am consistent with every year, although I tweak things here and there, I feel these things help me and my students grow.
First, which I feel is the most important, is to build relationships with your students. Although many may think this is a given, kids know when a teacher truly cares about their well-being and which ones do not. I have found just through observations, that the teachers that have the most discipline problems are the ones who have not taken the time to build relationships with their students. I have had so many of my students tell me they are working hard for me or they are going to try their best to pass a test so I could be proud of them. Of course it is for them, but I tell them if doing it for me motivates them to do their best, please do. And, no matter what, I give them praise, i.e. “you were very close keep trying you will make it”. With everything going on in the World children need to know school and my class are safe places to be and to learn. The first week of school is a great time to start building those relationships. I always participate in the getting to know you activities at the beginning of the year and the kids think it is awesome.
Secondly, classroom management, to me this goes hand in hand with building relationships. When you have a relationship with your students, classroom management becomes a little easier. Effective classroom management means you are providing a safe environment conducive to learning. When students know what to expect and it is consistent, they are more ready to learn. If done correctly, you don’t have to say much because the students know what to do. Not to say there will not be any issues but they are minimal and can be handled in the classroom. The students know the rewards and consequences of their actions. Remember, you are in charge of your classroom. (I use http://www.classdojo.com an excellent way to track behavior)
Thirdly, always have a backup plan! There are just some days where things don’t go right.
-the copy machine has been down for 3 days
-the overhead bulb went out
-your 45 minute lesson only lasted 30 minutes 😦
-personally, I discovered cutting out foldables was too difficult for fifth graders (wow what an eye opener)
That is why, it is sooo important to your sanity that you have a plan for when your lesson doesn’t work like expected. I always over plan for my students so if I don’t need my back up plan I put the extra work in the sub-folder (two birds’ one stone). This also helps with the previous tips, by showing you are always prepared and no lost learning time.
Fourth, know your data! As a teacher you cannot be effective if you are unaware of your student’s abilities. Data walls, data binders, etc. are great ways to keep track of your student’s growth. Plus, it helps the students become more responsible for their learning (I love when they ask are they passing, I tell them look in your data folder). You also have documentation for parent conferences to show how their child is doing.
Fifth, seek knowledge! In this technological age there is so much information, ideas, etc. out there, that if you are unsure of the best way to teach something you can definitely find it. Whenever I struggled with new ways to teach something or reteach something I always go out searching for new ideas. Pinterest.com has definitely been a Godsend for new ideas as well as utilizing other teachers from my school and district. Always be willing to learn.
Effective teaching takes work and dedication. The tips I shared are not the only way to becoming effective. There are so many things we do as a teacher, these were just some of the top five that I noticed from the top teachers I’ve taught with or met in professional developments.
Please share (comment on) other tips you use or have seen that makes teachers more effective.