For most, the New Year holiday brings a time of personal reflection. Many people set resolutions, or try to generally reset some part of their life once the clean slate of January 1 of the new year comes. I'll be writing in another post about my goals for 2017, but for this post I want to talk about How to Be a Better Teacher in 2017.
As I said in another post about reflection, it is extremely important to me to always try to continuously improve my effectiveness in the classroom. Reflecting honestly about my teaching practice is a key in being able to do that. The day that I get complacent and think that the way I've always done things is the way I'll always do things, is the day I am not putting forth my best self for kids.
When I reflect, it mainly boils down to how my teacher actions affected student actions. The following list is not exhaustive, but has questions that I have asked myself to help me re-focus over breaks.
- Are we on track to reach the classroom goals?
- Of those we are on track to reach, why are we on track? What can I continue to do to build on that success?
- Of those we aren't on track to reach, why aren't we on track?
- Are my classroom goals big, measurable, and easily articulated to kids?
- Have I done a good job of investing the kids in the big goal? What can I continue to do, or improve upon to improve investment with students?
- Am I really getting to know all of my students so far this year?
- If so, what do I need to ensure I continue to do to expand on this? If not, what do I need to do differently?
- Does my attitude toward my work contribute to student learning or stifle it?
- Are my relationships with students helping the students learn, or hindering me from effectively behavior managing?
- Would I want to be in the class? Would I want my child to be in this class? If yes, why? If no, what should change?
- What teacher actions have led to student misbehavior this year?
- What about my classroom layout/set-up has allowed for student misbehavior?
- Have I been consistent with my classroom behavior management plan? If not, why not? What should be changed?
- Do I need to teach the behavior expectations differently after break, or outline them more explicitly?
- What is working and what isn't work with my classroom management plan overall?
- Did I follow through when giving consequences/communicating with parents? If not, why?
- Am I consistent in rewarding/incentivizing positive student behavior?
- Is what I have done this year to reward positive student behavior sustainable for the rest of the year?
- What can I do to improve next year to encourage positive behavior/buy-in of class goals?
- What can I do to improve re-directing and tracking of negative behavior?
- Who can I speak with or go observe to get ideas regarding behavior management?
Collaboration & Team Function
- In what areas can I improve in order to help the team?
- Are/Have my actions prohibiting/prohibited my team from growing, working more efficiently, or trying new things?
- What "works" on our team?
- What can we do to become more consistent?
- How can we support each other better in the next year?
- What is at least one thing that we should try as a team next year?
- Does our team exhibit to kids that we believe all of them can meet expectations and can succeed at a high level? If not, what must we change so that is the case?
- What can I do next year to further prioritize my family instead of taking so much work home with me?
- What can I change for next year that will make me a more efficient teacher?
- How can I structure my classroom, planning period, short down periods during the day to maximize my effectiveness at school?
- What do I need to prioritize next year so I can live a balanced life?
- What can I do next year to help me stay excited about teaching?
Instruction/Teaching PracticesSo, what do you think? What am I leaving out? I'd love to hear your own reflections and questions in the comments or in an email! I hope you have an AWESOME start to 2017 and the new semester!
- What lessons have "worked" for me?
- For lessons that haven't work, was it because of lack of preparation, they weren't interesting to kids, they should be taught in a different order?
- Do I give enough feedback to kids? If so, is my feedback meaningful?
- Does my grade book reflect student learning and progress?
- Do my assessments assess learning effectively?
- Do I backwards plan effectively?
- What can I do to better assist those who don't "get it"?
- What can I do to better assist those who work more quickly and need meaningful extension?
- How do I know that my students are learning?
If one of your goals for 2017 is to be more organized...check this out!