Monday, October 19, 2015

Favourite Advice for Teachers?

What are your three favourite pieces of advice for (new or experienced) teachers?
Needs assessment in literacy class

I'll go first while you think. :)

  1. Watch your TTT/STT ratio. That's Teacher Talk Time / Student Talk Time. Ideally, we shouldn't be doing more than 20% of the talking. For me, the TTT is much heavier during the presentation part of the lesson or unit, as I'm explaining new terms and helping students with pronunciation. By the "free practice" part of the lesson, I should be able to exit the classroom unnoticed. I love getting to that point!
  2. Be authentic. There are teachers who do not share anything about their private lives with their students, and there are those who are completely transparent. I happen to fall into the latter category. In my opinion, authenticity helps build trust, helps create a safe space for learning and risk taking, helps the students build community with each other, and is just more fun. For me, authenticity could even be considered a form of respect.  Not only that, but I recently came across some research indicating that authentic teachers are more immune to burn-out! I can think of two colleagues who have burned out during my five years in the field; both are the type to have two personae, one for their private lives and a sort of "mask" for the classroom.
  3. Do not forego the needs assessment. Even if you think you know what the students need, do it anyway. For one, you may be surprised. Secondly, even if they choose to study the exact same topics you knew they needed, having voted on it will increase their sense of ownership of their learning and boost engagement. (Check out the ASSESSMENT section of my FREE RESOURCES area on my website if you need materials for this.)
How about you? Think of that good teacher in your school who would be EVEN BETTER if she/he just did one little thing differently. What advice would you love to give him/her?

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