A Good Place to Start

At times in teaching, you get stuck.  Whether it’s a rut, or you feel bored, you can’t find your direction, or you just can’t see putting in all the time needed — it means you’re stuck.  I’ve been a bit stuck, I admit.  I’m not delivering content as richly as I would like.  I am delivering it, but sometimes I feel I’m just boring the pants off the students.  In some sense, no wonder they don’t remember some ancient culture or rocks and minerals, they weren’t engaged enough.

In California (and elsewhere I’m sure, but I don’t teach there), we have professional standards for teaching.  On that level, I’m a fairly effective teacher.  My class is on task, has flexibility (side A or B depending on your skill level), allowed to move and work with others, and access to more challenging materials (more in math than in other subjects).  They are (generally) polite and kind to others, treat the classroom community as their own, and are not (again, generally) behavior issues.  You’d think with all that’s good, I’d be content.  But I’m not because we aren’t great.  We aren’t fully, deeply independent.  We haven’t learned to make learning our own and extend it for the joy of learning.  Sigh…

I have work to do.

First though, I thought I’d sift through this list to see what I’m missing.  That might be the perfect place to start with classroom improvements. [It’s from Marvin Marshall’s site Promoting Responsibility]

Eric Jensen interviewed over 100 principals and asked them
that–assuming they have a list of a well-qualified
candidates from which to hire–what people-skills would they
look for when hiring a new teacher.

In no particular order, the following were listed:

1. Good attitude – optimistic
2. Resourceful – able to take care of their own problems
3. Love of learning – projecting this to students
4. Handle stress – being a resilient learner
5. Ability to read emotions – detecting when students are
apathetic
6. Responsible – showing up every day, not blaming others,
and a willingness to try something new or different
7. Likes kids
8. Willing to be a role model
9. Loves learning and making a difference

Other considerations included:
–being a team member
–enthusiasm
–good sense of humor
–flexibility
–creativity
–self-confidence
–a passion about teaching

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