Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
Before coming to Milford I served as a building principal for 10 years in Attleboro and Natick and in March 2016 I completed my doctorate in educational leadership. This post I will focus on Ways to be an effective educator. I took some ideas and strategies during my time as a principal and my research at Boston College and compiled some tips for you.
First think about how will you impact your students. Impact is the key word here. Having an impact on learning will increase retention and move the learning forward for your students. Thinking about your lessons as ways to impact learning will center your planning on the learning and not the activities.
Second Make sure to be passionate about what you are teaching. Kids are smart. They will know if what you are teaching them excites you. Being passionate will being your excitement level up and their engagement level up as well.
My third tips is work smarter – NOT harder. This means be efficient in your planning and instruction. It’s better to work efficiently. Not harder. You can’t do it all as a teacher so be efficient and remember what I said at the beginning. How are you impacting your students? Cutting away things that do not impact learning will help you with your planning and follow through. Take pride in working smart by setting priorities and managing external time wasters. A strategy for increasing your efficiency is to review your day and know how you spend your time. Wirth all you have to do as educators. And it is a lot…make sure your time is spent on the right work and your students.
Next…we often hear about educators planning lessons. My tip is to design learning experiences NOT lessons. Learning experience will increase active learning and in turn increase student retention. Today’s learners want to be a part of the learning not spoken to.
In designing that learning experience, become a storyteller. Students get captivated by good stories and if you frame your lessons as an adventure or journey your students will go with you on that journey and increase motivation in the learning. Put yourself in the learner’s shoes and you will be able to see the lessons as learning experiences or see they are not. Think about if you would want to be a part of the planned learning. If not, my guess is your students would not either so think about how you can turn that lesson into a learning experience.
Finally, encourage learning and mistakes. Students learn by doing, trying and retrying. We too often tell students what to think rather than teach them to think. Allow students to discover learning and they will intrinsically become more motivated because of their curiosity and opportunity to try to solve a problem instead of repeat an answer.
SO a quick recap on some suggestions and thoughts on how to become a more effective educator.