Three Things to Help You Become a Better Teacher

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hopefully you are finding yourself rested and relaxed after taking a well deserved break from the classroom. In the midst of all our "resting and relaxing," I know we were also pinning, instagramming and dollar spotting our way into this school year.  There is just no easy way to turn off the teacher brain. But...'Tis the season to really start thinking about your next group of students.  So, I am here to share with you a few more ways, that aren't so #InstagramMadeMeDoIt worthy, that you can do to make this the best school year ever. 


Build Connections

For two years, I was the ONLY reading teacher in my district. My island was very lonely. It took me almost a year (a very sad year, where I wanted to leave the profession all together) to realize that I needed help. I needed to find like minded people who understood my struggles, and shared the same passion for teaching, and that could lift me up when I needed it. Social media was not enough, clicking a like button or saving my favorite ideas were motivating, but not inspiring. 

So, my first bit of advice, is to FIND YOUR PEOPLE! Which, good news, you have already started doing. You have some how stumbled upon my blog - if this is your first time here, I hope stay to look around and get to know me a little bit. If this is not your first time here, welcome back! I hope you have found the tips and strategies I share to be helpful. Please, whether you are a new friend, or a long time friend, reach out and let me know you are here. I want to connect with you. If there is another blogger you like, reach out and email them too. Our community is large, but it can be very tight. You are never alone, and other teachers are your best resources. 

A few years ago, I attended a conference that briefly spoke about "capital" in education. Yes, like the actual wealth or value of resources available in education. It is no surprise that the schools that invested in their "professional capital" - their teachers, their professional development, and their well being showed positive achieving outcomes. This almost seems like a no brainer, but this is what motivated me even more to truly make friendships with some of the teachers I admired on social media.  If you are interested in reading more about "professional capital" you can check out this link HERE.


Set Goals

Rome really was not built in a day, week or year... and your classroom won't be either. My second bit of advice is to take things SLOW. I know we all have a lot of ground to cover, so we strive for immediate perfection. However, I don't think that ultimately benefits our students. So, rather than spreading yourself thin, dig deeper, and do it REALLY WELL. Take time to get to know your standards, curriculum, and students. 

It is OK, to be OK while you are building your toolbox. Consider setting a goal for yourself each month, and work to become an "expert" in that area. The month before school, you may choose to research your plans for a classroom management system. Next month, you could set a goal to "nail down" your phonics instruction. Then following month, set a goal to improve your math instruction. You can do this by seeking out the guidance of colleagues, requesting to attend professional development sessions (or finding them free online), reading professional texts, etc. I have followed this "tip" every year, and it allows me to improve on one thing, and not overwhelm myself with "all the things."

Please don't read "take is slow" as permission to "take it easy". The purpose of setting goals, is to identify the areas in your classroom that will promote the most success for students. It may be based on areas of academic need for your students - for instance maybe your students this year need help in an area where your past students really succeeded, so it is time to brush up on that area. Or maybe it is an area in need of improvement based on an evaluation from last year. No matter what it is, set your goals, with the clear purpose of improving your professional practice and the success of your students. Then execute, you and your students deserve only the best! 


Don't Forget to Take a Break

As the good 'ole saying goes "Happy Wife = Happy Life" and we all know the truth this statement carries. But, we are talking about ourselves as teachers, not as parents, or spouses, or friends.... but maybe we should be? Being a teacher is only part of our identity. We have to honor the other parts of who we are, so we can be the best teachers possible. Don't forget to take time for your family, your friends and most importantly yourself. Do some soul searching to find out what really recharges your batteries. Is it running, crafting, reading, working in a garden, volunteering with animals? Whatever it is, do more of it. Schedule time on your weekends not just for lesson planning, but for you. 

I struggle with this the most. As teachers, we give so much of ourselves and there is often little time for us to be "selfish" so we can do something we love - even if it is just taking a nap (no judgements)! But, when I do take a break. I always head back to school on Monday feeling like a better version of myself. I take more risks that week, and my students have more fun learning. It is really a win, win. 


I hope you are ready to tackle this year head on, and make it the best year ever! In the comments, please share other tips you have, or ways you like to "take a break"
We are all in this together, and I look forward to hearing from you. 

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1 comment:

  1. Great post with so much amazing advice! So glad I found you because you are my people :-)

    ReplyDelete

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