Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Effective Teacher

These are my thoughts,written for an assignment at work/school.

The effective teacher has very large shoes to fill. Not only do lessons need to be planned and taught in a clear manner to a complex class of students, but this instruction needs to be delivered in an atmosphere of patience and understanding.

An effective teacher cares deeply. The education of students is foremost in this teacher’s thoughts, but knowing each child personally is equally important. In my teaching career I have found that the students who are struggling almost always have something going on in their home that is bothering them and hindering their learning. Many times I have made allowances for a student who is experiencing a hardship of some sort. I have been a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Yet, I find myself losing patience too often in the classroom with students who really need some kindness. I believe this can be resolved with prayer; by asking God to help me to be more Christ like in my treatment of those He has put under my care.

An effective teacher also recognizes complexity. Teaching involves planning, scheduling, dispersing information, leading, guiding, modeling, motivating, and often reteaching. No two students are alike, so lessons need to reflect the various learning styles and levels of the students in a given class. I have to remind myself often that I am dealing with a wide range of students with a variety of needs. I’ve learned that it is often necessary to go back to a lesson and approach it in a different manner in order for my students to grasp the intended concept. I plan to continue searching out new ways to attract my students’ attention and entice them to learn the material they are required to know.

Communicating clearly is something every good teacher must achieve if students are to take hold of the material being presented. Not only should lessons be plainly communicated, but classroom rules, procedures, and expectations need to be presented and practiced so each student knows what is required. Sometimes I find myself going too fast and I have to stop, repeat directions, and slow down. I am still learning that I don’t have to always cover an entire textbook in order to complete a successful year. If my students learn, grow, and make progress then I have done my job.

An effective teacher must be conscientious in planning, managing, and communicating. I know that I am very hard working, but I think I need to be sure my efforts are going in the right direction. I don’t want to be spinning my wheels, or for that matter reinventing the wheel. Instead I want to keep the wheels turning in the brains of the students under my care. I want to enthuse and enlighten, enliven and encourage, and occasionally entertain. I want to be the teacher they remember, not because I embarrassed them but because I listened to their stories. I want to be remembered not as the Queen of Detention, but perhaps as that teacher who turned them on to reading or helped them to love poetry.

In order to be that successful and flourishing teacher, I need to remember the words of Proverbs 16, verse 3: Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. This is my prayer.

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