In a recent post I wondered why I’m not a better teacher and tantalisingly promised a follow-up on what I plan to do about it. So here it is.
- Remember that I don’t sit the exams. So however good I might get in the classroom, there will still be some who don’t fulfil what I think to be their potential, for all sorts of reasons. (Thanks @EG_carr for that one.)
- Be more willing to revisit existing lessons. It’s easy just to produce last year’s lesson plan and use it again. After all, it was probably OK. Sometimes, though, lessons or series of lessons need looking at again, even if the syllabus hasn’t changed. That can be hard – you have something that works on the stocks and there is always so much else to do – but occasionally it’s necessary.
- Listen to advice and then do what’s right. This year I have read books, blogs and tweets which challenge a lot of what I believe about teaching. Undeterred, I will continue to spend time making displays; I shall use powerpoint where it’s helpful; I will talk when I think it’s right, and encourage group work where that is appropriate; and so on.
- Tell fewer jokes at the wrong time. This blog from @Rosalindphys really resonated. Not because, unlike her, I am “labouring under the crippling delusion that I [am] funny” – I actually am hilarious, I mean have you even seen my tweets? – but because sometimes the temptation to interrupt thinking and working with a wisecrack must be resisted.
- Be less accepting of substandard work because “s/he’s too shrewd not to knuckle down when it matters.” That is a) an easy out for me, b) true far less often than I would like it to be and c) a way to waste opportunities to improve during the year.
So there you have it. Don’t beat myself up, freshen up some lessons, stick to my guns (while being willing to change firearms if I find better ones), be less funny and expect and enforce higher standards. Job (should be) done.