how to become a better teacher
Terra Lark

Terra Lark

How to Become a Better Teacher?

How to Become a Better Teacher? From common practices, experts, and advice (with steps you can take today!)

In your teaching career, you will leave some classes feeling inadequate.  You may have days where you wonder if you should have done more. Should you have studied more about the topic? Was it also helpful to have pushed the students more with gentle challenges? Or, applied better forms of discipline? You may have been teaching for a long time or have just begun, but no matter the stage, we all face these questions. 

One thing is certain, you aren’t the first teacher with these thoughts nor the last. The benefit of this is that you can take the wisdom and experience of other teachers, along with a few scientific studies. As a result, you begin to apply it early on in your teaching career and are working towards how to become a better teacher.

Breaking it down:

  • How to be a good teacher – common practices.
  • What do experts say are the qualities of effective teachers?
  • What is the best advice for teachers, from teachers?
  • Ways to put this information into action (today!)

How to Be a Good Teacher – common practices.

To become a better teacher, let’s start based on being a good teacher (chances are, you’re already here). You will find that in a quick Google search . The short answer on ”how to be a good teacher’’ will generate many results. All of them have common and repeated themes. Here are just a few practices that people are already implementing in their teaching careers to become good teachers.  

1. Learn constantly

2. Improve your communication skills

3. Always remember why you became a teacher

4. Have good classroom and personal management skills

5. Build relationships with students and school staff

6. Set clear objectives

This is just a small list of things that many identify with the actions that teachers can take to be good teachers. There are many ways to improve in these areas. So, take the time and question yourself about these 6 common practices. Why did I become a teacher? How can I start to build better relationships with students?  What are my objectives for this day? How about this lesson, or this semester? Be able to ask yourself and answer these things regularly. You will be able to adjust your teaching based on them. As a result, you will build in you the positive habits of good teachers.

In our search for how to become a better teacher, so far we have identified how to start at the beginning, practices that make teachers ‘good’ teachers. Next, it will help us if we can identify exactly which qualities make a teacher effective. What have scientists or experts been able to contribute to this topic? 

According to experts, what are the qualities of an effective teacher?

Regarding an article in the Journal of Professional Learning, the measure of your effectiveness as a teacher is whether or not you produce the desired result. Two experts have also identified some important qualities that effective teachers have. They:

A. Work hard

B. Are passionate about their subject

C. Work as a team with others

D. Know their subject well

E. Like, as well as respect their students

F. Have a sense of humor

G. Are flexible

H. They have and utilize many learning and teaching strategies

With these insights you can begin to pair the common practices of good teachers with the qualities experts identify ineffective teachers by asking yourself a question:

  • Which of the qualities identified by experts and which common practices of good teachers help me to achieve my desired result at the end of each lesson?

Answering this question will be a bit of a needs analysis-a gauge of where you are so that you can make a plan for how to get to where you want to be-which will help you to become a better teacher. 

Before turning these valuable answers into actionable steps, let’s add one more element to becoming a better teacher: advice from experience.

What is the best advice for teachers, from teachers?

As with a search onhow to be a good teacher looking into ‘best advice for teachers’ will return a lot of information, (all useful) but with common, repeated themes. Some of these being:

  • Ask for help when you need it. You don’t have to struggle alone. Some so many people have already learned how to handle your situation, explain your subject well, and have bounced back after similar mistakes. Reach out to them.
  • Maintain Flexibility. Despite all of your planning and careful prep work, things will not always go as expected, your lessons may even need to change at the moment you are giving them. If you know this beforehand it will save a lot of stress.
  • Balance work and personal life. There will be many times where you will have to go the extra mile with your personal time to complete everything. But, it’s just as necessary to relax, have days and times where you don’t think about work, and enjoy time away.
  • Making personal connections + loving what you do. You have the power to shape and influence lives and what people learn from you they will use long into their futures. Also, you will have a lot of technical and administrative tasks, but don’t forget that there are people and personalities and hearts behind what you are doing. Connect with them in a real way and it will make a difference.

The amount of information on this topic is immense and while I’ve chosen to only highlight a small percentage of it for you, continue to explore advice to identify areas for improvement in yourself and your classroom. 

As you may have noticed, common practices, experts, and advice all come together in a myriad of areas. They are to show us ways and things you can do to become a better teacher. But, which steps do you need to take to become a better teacher? To be relevant to your subject, personal qualities, and unique situation? 

3 Ways to put this information into action (today!)

Here are activities that you can start doing today. Begin to work consistently, make these practices a part of your habits and lifestyle. Consequently, you will be on the path to becoming a better teacher:

#1 Take a free online course – classroom management, communication skills, teaching certifications. There’s no end to free resources that will allow you to improve the practices that are necessary for your job. You can find no reason not to begin one today!

#2 Mentorship from a friend or colleague – Feedback, accountability, and assessment are areas in life that can always give consistent improvement and growth. Today, ask another teacher at your school, or even a friend, to sit in on a lesson and to give you feedback about ways to improve your methods. (Alternatively, sit down with a cup of coffee and ask for their advice). Write down your goals and plans for improving your teaching, mark this list with a specific date and ask your mentor to check in on that date to make sure you’ve completed it. This sense of accountability will help you to stay on track.

#3 Create a vision for yourself as a teacher – Remember the qualities of an effective teacher? Well, the most important takeaway was that an effective teacher asks themselves one question: What is the intended result? 

Which is the end goal? What kind of teacher do you want to be? Which kind of effect do you want to have on your students? What for you is a “better teacher?” Once you identify this, you can take the necessary steps to get there.

Chances are, you already have an idea of the kind of teacher you want to be. Write out what that teacher is, write out the areas you do well in and the ones you need to work on, then plan and make goals that will strengthen your weak areas. It’s so simple, there is no reason why you can’t do that today!

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Terra Lark

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