Here are my important tips for teaching as inspired by Planning to teach from A to Z By Vicki Davis.
G is for Gullible
When I first started teaching I believed everything my students told me. Then I realized I had been too gullible. I remember reading something once where a teacher told a parent, “If you don’t believe half of what your child tells you about me, I won’t believe half of what he tells me about you.” That is so true. I believed every hard luck story and how awful their home life was and cut them too much slack. When I finally realized that I had been taken advantage of, I realized that I was not helping them but in fact enabling them to find excuses for their behavior. Finally I told my students, “Things are the way they are. You need to work harder and look for a way out of your situation instead of spending your energy finding excuses and blaming others.” Once I started telling them that and not being so gullible, I truly believe that they worked harder. I had one student actually overcome difficulties in his personal life and go on and become a preacher in NC.
H is for Happiness
You need to find happiness in your teaching. You will find many teachers who like to complain and bad mouth education. But I believe the good teachers are the ones who feel happy with teaching. They enjoy it and feel they make a difference. Sometimes I want to tell the unhappy ones (the ones who are chronically unhappy not the once in a while unhappy ones) that they need to move on and find another profession. Their unhappiness isn’t healthy for them or their students.
I is for Individuals
Remember that we don’t teach subjects or grades but we teach individuals, the students. We need to look at their individual needs. We need to remember that many students learn differently and that we can’t expect them to all learn at the same pace and in the same way.
J is for Jester
Every class has the jester, the class clown. Enjoy the humor but don’t enjoy it at the expense of class learning. When it becomes an annoyance or a hindrance, watch the jester’s actions. Is this happening during a time the student is frustrated or having problems? It could be a defense mechanism to avoid work.
K is for Kindness
Don’t expect students to know how to be kind. This is not something they are born with but rather learn from watching adults. Unfortunately many students do not witness this outside of school so they really need examples to learn from during the school day. Talk about kindness, give examples, and show it in your daily life. You won’t be sorry for doing this.
L is for Laughter
Laughter (at the appropriate times) will help you through sticky situations. When I’m feeling frustrated or depressed, it helps to find my sense of humor. When my students start getting frustrated and a bad situation starts to escalate, I try to find something humorous to say in order to defuse the situation. Sometimes laughter is just a good stress reliever.