How can you improve yourself as a teacher?
Saturday, I sat in on a lecture about the idea of reflective teaching. It was really beneficial because I was able to evaluate myself, look at areas where I’m doing well and areas where I need to improve. It’s sometimes difficult to admit the things where I can improve, but in order for me to become a great teacher I need to do this. I would like to think the same about you, too.
In the lecture, the speaker had all attendees fill out a self-evaluation form. An evaluation form is a great way to really gauge your strengths and weaknesses. The speaker also gave a few great ideas to help you reflect on your teaching style. One idea was to have someone make an audio recording of your class. The recording can help you know how fast or slow you teach the content, how you sound to the students (if you’re monotone or animated), and can even help you know how you’re managing your classroom. Audio recordings also can let you know if you use a word or phase too much, or if you use lots of filler words (“uh..”, “um…”, etc.). The issue with this technique is to have an audio recorder handy and someone to use it while you teach (you’d want it to be placed in the back of the classroom).
Another idea he gave was to make a video recording of your class. This is great because it lets you know how you look to the students. The speaker mentioned that many teachers think they don’t look angry or scary to their students, but the video recording would show otherwise. It also shows how well the class is managed from a visual standpoint. Again, the main issue with this idea is finding a video camera and having it set up in an inconspicuous spot in the back of the classroom.
It might be hard to admit when we as teachers make mistakes, but it’s important to do so. We can’t get any better if we don’t first realize that we can and do make mistakes. The students are much better for it if we tell them when we screw up. We’re much better for it when we take responsibility for our screw-ups and finding effective solutions. Talking with other teachers is a great way to find creative and effective solutions to problems we experience in teaching. So, if you make a mistake (or several), don’t hide it. Let a close friend or colleague know, and work together to improve.