The following ten intangibles of good teaching are in no particular order. However, feel free to prioritize based on your needs.
1). Be reflective in your practice. It takes teachers at least four years to learn the curriculum, and become good at managing students. In years 0-4, be humble, hungry, and reflective.
2). Be selfless. Teaching isn’t about adults or what the profession can give to you or what the job can do for you. Education is about your ability to facilitate learning for others, and those others must be the central focus, thus making the profession one of selflessness.
Collaboration is key:
3). Collaborate often. You can always learn from your colleagues, even if you are learning what not to do from them. The goal is for you to take teaching tools and build them to fit your personality.
4). Build relationships with parents and students. Parents are stakeholders and should be considered thought-partners. Not every parent will interact with you on a level that you are familiar with, so be prepared to come out of your comfort zone and meet parents where they are without judgment.
5). Believe in your students. All students can achieve, but as the educator in their lives, it becomes your job to create an individual learning plan that allows students to experience success.
Feedback can shift the tide:
6). Always seek input. Implement the information immediately. Invite colleagues in your classroom, and ask for their honest opinions. Put your defenses down, and leave your ego at the door. Constructive criticism isn’t about you; it’s about the students.
7). Consistency– you should plan to attend work 98% of the time. Only if you are sick and contagious should you miss work? Your students will see your dedication and passion, and they will assimilate accordingly.
8). Teaching is a very demanding job, so establishing work-life balance is hard but necessary. Find ways to let off steam, I.e., Gym, recreational running. It’s crucial for you to come in every day fresh and reinvigorated.
Learning is forever:
9). Become a life-long learner and always share your love for learning with your students. Students need to see this passion.
10). Have fun! Laugh a lot, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Your ability to have fun and laugh at your mistakes will prolong your teaching career. Now go out and kick some butt.
Please feel free to add any thoughts that you may have. I look forward to learning from your comments.
Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter Schoo and has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. This post originally ran on his blog here.