Teachers are so much more than someone lecturing in front of a group of students. I can’t say that I have ever done that. In today’s classrooms, teachers wear many hats and are responsible for so much more than what is visible to the normal outsider. They are parents, mentors, artists, creators and counselors. They contribute countless hours of their valuable time to insure the success of their students because they care.
You Are Not Prepared
I don’t think there is a class in college for education majors that teach them specifically how to be effective teachers, so most new teachers come out of college expected to perform, but with no knowledge base on how to implement non-instructional tasks. I can personally attest that I have learned more within my own classroom and from my colleagues than I have learned in any college lecture hall or student-teaching environment.
I entered the teaching profession very suddenly. I went from doing medical research in a laboratory to teaching biology to 100+ students. I was given a key, a lesson plan template and was told to “make it my own.” It was sink or swim, and I chose to swim.
Nowhere in the teacher handbook or resource binder does it tell you how to maintain discipline or deal with unruly parents. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have guidelines on how to maintain a grade book, how to teach and implement classroom procedures and how to dress for success?
It’s Not Anyone’s Fault
It’s not the university’s fault. They can only cram so much information in a short span of time (just like our own classrooms), and there is so much to learn! Effective teachers are life-long learners, constantly evolving and improving themselves through continued education, conferences, workshops, and networking all for the sake of student achievement. Rarely will you see this teacher in the lounge complaining and making excuses.
Effective teachers possess many talents and harbor traits that present themselves to their students as a person worthy of such a title.
These teachers are effective because:
- They have a plan.
- They have the know-how to implement their plan.
- They use their plan to reach every student, every day.
1. The Effective Teacher Has a Plan
I have already mentioned the importance of a classroom management plan in this previous post, but I will reiterate that establishing and maintaining good control of your class is of utmost importance. When the teacher has a plan with clear expectations and consequences and implements this plan consistently, it will prove to be an effective game-changer and the determining factor of that teacher’s success. This plan must be developed before Day 1.
Having a plan to organize your students, save space, maximize your time and manage materials will bring you one step closer to a cohesive learning environment that will maximize student engagement. A well-managed classroom allows your students to feel safe and secure.
I am not a yeller, and there is no need for me to yell because I maintain consistent routines and procedures that foster student cooperation and promote a positive, productive learning environment.
Students will appreciate a well-managed classroom, and even if your desks are filled with a diverse group with multiple learning exceptionalities, you will be able to reach each and every one of these students because they will be vested in their education.
Students don’t like surprises when it comes to expectations. They want to know what is expected of them and they get easily frustrated when they are confused, and you can eliminate all confusion by remaining consistent with your expectations all-year-long (even the Friday before a holiday break). Students want to be able to predict what comes next, and a well-managed classroom harbors students that know what they should be doing and how to do it without being told (yes, that can happen!)
You can tell if you’ve just walked into a classroom with an effective classroom management plan in place because you will witness the students doing all of the work (and not the teacher), you will see a clear set of expectations posted somewhere, and you will leave that classroom with a positive, pleasant vibe. What you will not see is wasted time, student confusion and constant disruptions.
2. The Effective Teacher Knows What They Are Doing
These teachers are efficient, and you can just about bet that they are not spending countless hours at home doing school work because they are doing the job right. Don’t confuse the terms effective and efficient. An efficient teacher does things the right way to maximize their time.
I appreciate the enthusiasm of a new teacher. They want to make a difference, they want to be successful and they want to have fun with their students, but their naivety can lead to their downfall.
After the honeymoon phase, teachers often enter into teacher burnout because they have never been able to establish a consistent classroom management plan. These are the teachers you will most commonly find in the lounge complaining and making excuses about their jobs. They are teachers because they need a job with vacation and health benefits, not because they are vested in the education of their students.
Effective teachers seek out all necessary resources to learn best practices because they strive to be the best in their field. They’ve mastered their content and they are making strides to impact the future of their students. These teachers are usually remembered by their students for years to come because they have used best teaching practices to go above and beyond their job description. These teachers are friendly, caring and loving adult role models, not their students’ friend.
3. The Effective Teacher Makes an Impact
Effective teachers not only teach their content, but they also teach their students how to function as a productive citizen of society. Most educators who enter the profession want to promote change. They want to make a difference, and they do this by changing their students’ attitudes towards learning and they promote positive behaviors that illicit change.
These teachers rarely have behavior problems in their classrooms because they are liked, not because they are their students’ friend (we’ve already talked about how this is a no-no), but because they have earned their students’ respect and have made an impact on their lives. Want to know one reason why your students disrespect you? Check out this post.
I can just about bet that by reading this post a past teacher of yours has come to mind, not because they were easy or the most fun, but because they influenced you in some way. Be that teacher to your own students and see their response. What you implement now will carry with you and your students for years to come. You must be the change to see the change!
Related articles across the web