By Lizzie Weakley

As teachers, our whole career is about providing the best education for students that we can. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is by becoming the best teacher (and, more generally, person) you can be. Here are six ways to become a better teacher to make sure your students succeed.

 

1) Take Care of Yourself

Your students need you to be healthy. Make sure to schedule time to relax, decompress, and take care of yourself so that you can stay healthy, happy, and at the top of your game. Neglecting yourself will only set you up for getting sick, and it can even lead to burnout. Don’t let this happen–teacher engagement is crucial.

2) Be Vigilant About Self-Reflection

You may have kept a self-reflection journal in college, but even if you don’t write it out self-reflection is a vital tool for continuous self-improvement. Take just a few minutes at the end of every day to think over what went well, what didn’t go well, and what you would do differently in the future.

3) Accentuate the Positive

The Affective Filter is a real issue. Your students will perform better when they are less stressed, and they feel like they have a chance at success. Make sure you praise students for good behavior, hard work, and high success. Praise more often than you correct–a 5:1 positivity ratio is ideal.

4) Ask for Help

Teacher’s lives are busy, to say the least. Between grading assignments, meetings, and maintaining a personal life, sometimes you get buried in work.

Ask for help, get a TA, or have students perform more tasks on their own. It’s ok to get help with the menial things in order to give more time and attention to the more important things.

Even more, never underestimate the value of a personal learning network.

5) Go Back to School

Your education will have a direct impact on your students’ education. Consider going back to school for a master’s in gifted education online, or consider broadening your license by certifying in another subject or gaining new micro-credentials.

6) Learn another Language

Chances are that you have more than one student who speaks another language at home. Use a free, online program like duolingo.com to learn a second language so you can better empathize with students who are learning English as a second language.

Becoming a better teacher doesn’t happen overnight, but these 6 steps can help you on your way–they may seem simple, but they will help keep you grounded and engaged.

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