Teachers are Students too

Teachers are Students too

stressfulI was startled by Dylan William’s research which suggested that teachers’ pedagogical growth and openness to professional development begins to wane after 3 years of classroom practice. I found that incredibly interesting; however as I recall my own journey,  it took me about 3 years to develop my classroom management style and get a handle of the paperwork and other demands of the profession. Perhaps these educational housekeeping items get confused for “good practice” and teachers can stagnant professionally once their comfort zone becomes established. Of course, the current boom in project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, STEM, flipped classrooms, design thinking and educational technology have disrupted a lot of teachers’ around the world. It may seem overwhelming at times to keep evolving.

Whether or not you adopt these principles and trends or not, I think there are some “basic needs” that educators have to master.

Here are some essentials elements of a quality classroom: (Must DOs)

  • Be intentional and set learning goals for students.
  • Laughter and humor are really important in learning –whether it is laughing AT the learning process or DURING the learning.
  • Hard Fun: challenging and engaging projects always trump didactic teacher directed lessons. (ie: Ditch that textbook and create meaningful work tasks for students.)
  • Get every student answering questions through better formative assessment practices.
  • Create blended learning experiences, in which technology is integrated as a component of learning.
  • Communicate with families and share the learning!
  • Growth Mindset isn’t a theory–it’s a fact and intelligence is malleable. Allow mistakes and failure to be fodder for deeper learning.

Here are ways to extend the quality of pedagogical approaches: (May DOs)

  • Keep a teacher reflection journal that documents what worked/bombed in the class.
  • Read educational books, blogs or take MOOCs/Online training so you can extend your pedagogical knowledge.
  • Develop a professional learning network, which could be inside your district or virtually, through Twitter, Facebook or Google+ communities.

And remember, the best teachers are the best LEARNERS! If you feel listless, then NOW is the time to inject some energy into your practice. You don’t have to wait for a school leader to drop a training into your lap, take charge and develop your craft–you are really the only one who can do that.

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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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