5 Habits of an Effective Teacher
You probably had one teacher in school who was your favourite. You liked almost everything about them, their presence in the classroom ,the way they taught their lessons, how they brought humor into the classroom , how they also let you sit with your friends and most importantly how they treated each one of you with respect.
Michael Morpurgo said “It is the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.” I am sure all of you who are teachers have heard this many times. This does not take away the fact that teaching is a challenging job. The needs of students are diverse and in order to make learning impactful for them, a teacher has to really consider all the diverse needs of all the students. I’m sure you’re already imagining a superwoman or superman in the classroom.
What are a few habits that can make you a super teacher?
Every teacher has their own strengths. If you learn how to leverage your strengths, then you can become your best self for your students. In addition to that here is a list of five habits that can be a huge game changer for you as a teacher.
1. Embrace Challenges: Challenges are a part of everyday teaching and no teacher can escape them. If you can embrace the challenges and believe that you are fully capable of finding a solution for the challenge that lies ahead of you, then nothing can stop you from accomplishing the goals you have set. A quick way to get the process of embracing challenges is to record what your immediate reaction to any challenge is. Is it worry? Is it fear? Is it a breakdown? Is it a bad lesson? There can be multiple reactions. Once you become aware of how you react, you’ll be in a better position to change that to a more positive reaction. Any new habit takes time, but you have to start somewhere. So, here’s a tip for you if you struggle to embrace challenges.
2. Build Reflective Practices: If you can build a daily or a weekly reflection routine, you will see a stark rise in your performance as a teacher. A well structured reflection can contain the following five questions:
- What is the outcome of my class?
- Did I meet the class outcome? What is the evidence?
- What clear actions did I take as a teacher to ensure the goal is met?
- What actions prevented me from getting my students to meet the goal?
- What actions will I take differently next time to meet the same/similar goal?
Give this simple 5 step reflection a shot and see how you become more aware of your teaching practices. This will help you to continue to do what you’re doing well and also help you to make changes to certain actions that aren’t leading to the result you want. Isn’t this simple?
3. Stay Organized: This is such an under-rated habit but one that can bring immense clarity to your daily routine. Staying organized helps in creating clear logistical processes ensuring you save time and energy that directly impact outcomes in the classroom. So, how can you stay organized? Here are a few ways:
Get a folder for each class with clearly marked pages.
- Keep all your stationery in one place and keep “Saturday Stationery Day” to refuel all the markers/pens for the week ahead.
- Create a weekly timetable and do a weekly check on your effectiveness and efficiency on the plans.
- Build a personal self-discipline routine which includes sleep time, wake up time, all meals, etc.
4. Get to know your students personally: Ignacio Estrada said, “if a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” If you know your students well, you can impact them in the right way. Knowing your students personally gives an opportunity to connect with them better and build an authentic relationship with them. You can also get to know about their interests, their likes and dislikes and bring in the right support for them. Here are 3 simple ways to get to know your students better:
- Have afternoon lunch with some of your students.
- Spend a day with your students after school and play games or do activities they enjoy.
- Celebrate important occasions and festivals together.
5. Set high standards: If you believe that your students can achieve, then they will. As a teacher, it is important that you do not put pressure on your students but also don’t set the bar too low so they don’t aspire to be better. Find that fine balance, and share that consistently with your students. This will help them to know that you believe in them. Tell them that you are there with them if they struggle but don’t lower the bar of what you think they are capable of.
Jim Rohn said, “ Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” So start now and build effective habits that will help you to become a more impactful teacher for your students.