As a teacher you have a key role to play in the future of your students and the life which they take on after they finish their education. Regardless of whether your student wishes to be a director of an NFL side, the President of the USA, a securities specialist, worker for the APFC or SEC, a door-to-door salesman or a trash collector, you are one of the investors in their future and you must be prepared to give them everything you have in exchange for a modest salary. I have been spending a lot of time recently with education guru Larry Polhill about how people can improve their teaching skills and here is the advice which he gave.
Never Stop Changing
Teachers are not supposed to be a certain way and stay in that style for the rest of their lives and if you want to be a great teacher then you need to be able to change. As the years go on, students change, education changes and the style in which you teach must also change. It can be easy to get stuck in the mud as a teacher but if you want to avoid becoming stale and less helpful for your students, it is vital that you always seek to change.
Have a Style Which is Flexible
No one student is the same in terms of their learning style and in order for you to be the best teacher that you can be, you must be prepared to have a flexible style which you can alter to each student. Now obviously much of your teaching will be done to the class as a while but there will be times that call for some one on one and you must be able to spot what kind of learner you are dealing with, and adapt your style appropriately.
Nobody is immune to criticism and you must seek feedback from your peers and your colleagues if you wish to improve. Hearing negative things about yourself is not easy but if you are not aware of your weaknesses, you will never be able to work on them. There is absolutely no shame in seeking feedback and if you want to improve, this is how you can do it.
If you work with other great teachers then why not take some time out of your day to watch how they conduct themselves and manage the classroom. You can learn a great deal if you have the humility to watch and learn from more experienced and better teachers than yourself. Most colleagues will be more than happy for you to sit in with them and watch them take a class, you could learn a great deal.
Don’t ever stop in your pursuit of being a great teacher, if you are able to improve then you will be able to help your students even more than you are right now.