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How to Be a Better Teacher in 2018

reflection, Teaching
Hey, y’all!
For most, the New Year holiday brings a time of personal reflection. Many people set resolutions, or try to generally reset some part of their life once the clean slate of January 1 of the new year comes. In an upcoming post, I’ll be reflecting on my goals from 2017 and will commit to some goals for the coming year, but for this post I want to talk about How to Be a Better Teacher in 2018.

As I said in another post about reflection, it is extremely important to me to always try to continuously improve my effectiveness in the classroom and honestly, I don’t think I’ve grown much this year. In Year 6, I’ve settled in quite a bit and that makes me sort of uncomfortable. The day that I get complacent  is the day I am not putting forth my best self for kids. Reflecting honestly about my teaching practice is a key to being able to continuously get better, despite whatever is happening around me. 

When I reflect, it mainly boils down to how my teacher actions affected student actions. The following list is not exhaustive, but has questions that I have asked myself to help me re-focus over breaks. 

Classroom Goals

  • Are we on track to reach the classroom goals?
  • Of those we are on track to reach, why are we on track? What can I continue to do to build on that success?
  • Of those we aren’t on track to reach, why aren’t we on track?
  • Are my classroom goals big, measurable, and easily articulated to kids?
  • Have I done a good job of investing the kids in the big goal? What can I continue to do, or improve upon to improve investment with students?

Classroom Culture

  • Am I really getting to know all of my students so far this year?
  • If so, what do I need to ensure I continue to do to expand on this? If not, what do I need to do differently?
  • Does my attitude toward my work contribute to student learning or stifle it?
  • Are my relationships with students helping the students learn, or hindering me from effectively behavior managing?
  • Would I want to be in the class? Would I want my child to be in this class? If yes, why? If no, what should change?

Student Behavior

  • What teacher actions have led to student misbehavior this year?
  • What about my classroom layout/set-up has allowed for student misbehavior?
  • Have I been consistent with my classroom behavior management plan? If not, why not? What should be changed?
  • Do I need to teach the behavior expectations differently after break, or outline them more explicitly?
  • What is working and what isn’t work with my classroom management plan overall?
  • Did I follow through when giving consequences/communicating with parents? If not, why?
  • Am I consistent in rewarding/incentivizing positive student behavior?
  • Is what I have done this year to reward positive student behavior sustainable for the rest of the year?
  • What can I do to improve next year to encourage positive behavior/buy-in of class goals?
  • What can I do to improve re-directing and tracking of negative behavior?
  • Who can I speak with or go observe to get ideas regarding behavior management?

Collaboration & Team Function

  • In what areas can I improve in order to help the team?
  • Are/Have my actions prohibiting/prohibited my team from growing, working more efficiently, or trying new things?
  • What “works” on our team?
  • What can we do to become more consistent?
  • How can we support each other better in the next year?
  • What is at least one thing that we should try as a team next year?
  • Does our team exhibit to kids that we believe all of them can meet expectations and can succeed at a high level? If not, what must we change so that is the case?


Instruction/Teaching Practices

  • What lessons have “worked” for me?
  • For lessons that haven’t work, was it because of lack of preparation, they weren’t interesting to kids, they should be taught in a different order?
  • Do I give enough feedback to kids? If so, is my feedback meaningful?
  • Does my grade book reflect student learning and progress?
  • Do my assessments assess learning effectively?
  • Do I backwards plan effectively?
  • What can I do to better assist those who don’t “get it”?
  • What can I do to better assist those who work more quickly and need meaningful extension?
  • How do I know that my students are learning?

So, what do you think? What am I leaving out? I’d love to hear your own reflections and questions in the comments!

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