Most people want to be better at what they do. Even if they know they are good at their jobs, they’ll still want to rise above and be the best. For teachers, there are a number of reasons why this might be the case. Firstly, when you’re a better teacher, you can help more people and achieve more in the classroom. Secondly, it’s about personal goals, both career-oriented and personal. The better you are at your job, the prouder you will be of your achievements, and the more easily you will reach your objectives.
If you are a teacher who wants to do more and be more – if you want to improve as a teacher – what is it you can do to make sure this happens? Whether you’re a mediocre teacher who wants to be good, a good teacher who wants to be great, or a great teacher who wants to be the best, there is always a way (and probably more than one way) to improve. Read on to find out what some of those ways are.
Take Care Of Yourself
Does it sound like an odd piece of advice to suggest that in order to improve your teaching, you need to take care of yourself? Although you might have expected the first thing on this list to be about education and learning, the fact is that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, your teaching is going to suffer, and that means the students in your class will suffer too; they won’t be getting the education they deserve.
Although you will need to work hard to ensure you are creating fun, dynamic, and ultimately memorable lessons for the children you’re teaching, you must also ensure you schedule time for relaxation. When you are working outside of school hours, as all teachers will need to do, take breaks and do something fun (it could be anything from reading a book to taking a class to watch TV). Make sure you get to bed on time and that you eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. If you feel your mental or physical health is suffering, see someone to get help. By taking care of yourself, you can be a much better teacher because:
- You’ll be more productive
- You’ll be more engaging
- Your lessons will be more interesting
- You’ll have passion for your work
- Your students can concentrate on their lessons rather than worrying about you
- You’ll feel your best.
Go Back To School
It’s perhaps ironic that in order to improve and become a better teacher, that teacher may need to go back to school. However, this could be exactly the right decision to make. There are a number of courses you can take that will give you additional skills to become an excellent teacher. You can even take an MA in education and obtain a formal degree for your hard work.
Whether you choose to take a degree or you simply want to learn some additional skills that will help you teach your children (and not receive any qualifications when you’re done) is down to you. Both options are equally valid and will help the children under your care immensely. Remember, though, if your plans involve promotion and wanting to become a head of department, principal, or even educational leader, a degree is certainly a good choice.
Take Time For Self-Reflection
Self-reflection can mean many different things to different people. In essence, though, it’s about looking objectively at what you have done and determining whether you need to improve in certain areas. When you can really think carefully about what you have achieved and what you intend to achieve, you can create a roadmap that will take you where you want to go.
Part of your self-reflection can consist of determining what your strengths and weaknesses are. Once you know, you can then either focus on your strengths and make them even stronger, or you can focus on your weaknesses and make them as strong as your strengths. Don’t try to do both of these things at once because you will become overwhelmed, and in the end, that means you’re unlikely to get very far at all.
To do this, just take a few moments at the end of the day to think about everything you achieved. What went well? What could have gone better? What would you do differently next time? If you get into a regular routine of doing this, you’ll find that you automatically understand how to improve after a while.
Ask For Help
The wonderful thing about teaching is that you’re never alone. This isn’t only true in a literal sense – teachers will always have their students and other staff members around them, after all – but also in a more general sense. The teaching community is one that stands together and helps one another more than you might realize. Teaching is a challenging job, and if you need help, make sure you ask for it; there is sure to be someone who can assist you no matter what it is you need.
There are various different ways you can get this help. You might want to find a mentor, for example. A mentor might be in your school or could be someone entirely separate (perhaps you met them at a conference or online, for example). It doesn’t matter where they are; the point is that you can use them as a sounding board. You can ask them questions and get advice from them. You can work together to overcome obstacles.
Another idea could be to have a teaching assistant. This will depend on the school you’re working in and the budget it has for additional staff, but if it is possible, then a teaching assistant is a very useful tool to help any teacher improve. When there is a teaching assistant in the classroom, the teacher can then focus their attention more, knowing that the teaching assistant will ensure no one is left out.