Giving students the opportunity to take more ownership of learning and modeling the behaviors you wish to see are just a few ways to bring your “A” game.
Honestly, sometimes I just get so frustrated with teachers disrespecting my children or discouraging them with their lack of enthusiasm. I've written here before about my experiences seeing my own kids turned off of school by teachers who are nasty, disrespectful, uncaring, or are otherwise more focused on themselves than they are on the students they teach. Thankfully, I've also had the privilege of connecting and working with many awesome teachers who are all about doing the best they can for their students.
I am so grateful for the teachers out there who realize that they are setting examples for their students. The best teachers embrace their jobs and do their best to inspire their students every day. If that's you … thank you, thank you, thank you!
Here are 25 questions for teachers to ask themselves and reflect on.
If you're a great teacher, you'll appreciate many of these questions, and look for those that make you think of new things you can do, because you already embrace a spirit of continuous improvement. And if you're not really inspired by teaching any longer, well … you probably didn't read this far anyway (but if you did, I hope some of these questions can motivate you to change things up a bit and bring some new energy to your work).
- Do you set the tone of respect by showing your students respect?
- Do you model lifelong learning (if you aren't inspired to learn, why should your students be)?
- Would you want to be a student in your classroom?
- Do you regularly look for ways to better serve your students?
- Do your students have opportunities to make choices about how they learn in your classroom?
- Do your students have opportunities to make choices about how they demonstrate what they've learn in your classroom?
- Is the homework that you assign providing students an opportunity to connect what they are learning to the world around them?
- If a student demonstrates on an assessment that they don't understand something, do they have an opportunity to correct that? If not, why not?
- Are students afforded the opportunity to master what they are learning in your classroom (or do you just move on whether they've learned it or not)?
- Do you throw up your hands and say, “I have no choice … the system makes me to do this”?
- Are you having fun teaching?
- Have you thanked a student lately?
- How aggressively do you look for ways to allow students to learn and demonstrate learning in a way that works for them?
- If you're forced to “teach to the test”, do you feel that means you have no choice about how you teach?
- Do you require students to be quiet, sit still, and just listen?
- Do you think flexibility in your classroom equals a loss of control?
- Do you feel that it's not your responsibility to motivate your students to learn?
- If you had the choice to make again, would you be a teacher?
- Does the homework you assign have enough value to make it worth taking away a student's opportunity to do extracurricular activities, have a life, chill a little, or get enough sleep?
- Have you “always taught this way”?
- Do you make a point of trying to get to know your students?
- Is your classroom focused predominantly on you, or on your students?
- Do students have opportunities to make choices regarding some homework activities (selecting from a range of options for example)?
- Are you helping your students learn how to learn?
- Would you want your children to be in a classroom like yours?
There are so many more questions like these we can ask ourselves to help determine if we're truly focusing on what's best for our students and helping them take more ownership of their learning. What other some question(s) that you think could be added to this list?