When you think back to your first year of teaching, what is the one word you would use to describe that first year? Some of the words that teachers have shared with me include: confusing, overwhelming, and intense.
It’s not nice having that overwhelmed feeling and it can not only be stressful, but it can also lead to burnout.
I’m a believer that proactive teachers implement many preventative techniques and strategies to help cope with the different aspects of the classroom. This definitely helps with that overwhelmed feeling, and what I think is the difference between an outstanding teacher and one that is struggling.
Here are some of the qualities of what I think makes an outstanding teacher.
Outstanding teachers are clear and organized
Outstanding teachers have fully prepared lessons, with clear objectives that are also obvious to students. They are in the classroom early and ready to go with teaching by the time students arrive. They have thought about and considered all parts of the lesson; they are structured and cater for the different learning needs of their students.
Outstanding teachers use a repertoire of teaching strategies to engage students
The first 5 minutes of a lesson really counts and it usually sets the tone for how the rest of the lesson will go. Outstanding teachers use a variety of teaching strategies to entice their students in the first few minutes of the lesson. They change this up and consider the best strategy to match the content of the lesson. They are confident and enthusiastic and use their voice clearly to explain concepts and keep students on track during a lesson.
Outstanding teachers develop positive relationships with their students
Seeking mutual respect and trust is a goal of an outstanding teacher. They are warm, pleasant, approachable and tolerant of student differences. They are consistent and fair. They learn their student’s names quickly and get to know each of them. They help their students to feel good about themselves and continually work at developing a positive relationship with individuals and the class as a whole.
Outstanding teachers adapt their lessons for individual differences
Not all kids are the same or learn in the same way or in the same time, each and every one of them is unique. Outstanding teachers acknowledge this, have a clear picture of where each of their students is at and cater for this when planning lessons.
Outstanding teachers assess and evaluate student learning to identify what they learned and what they have not yet learned
Outstanding teachers ask themselves: what knowledge, skills, and values did my students learn? What am I going to do to help my students learn concepts if they didn’t, or extend those students that need it? Outstanding teachers constantly evaluate how their students are progressing and use this information to direct future learning experiences. They are also very clear why they assess and know the type of information they want to collect. They choose the best assessment techniques to match the intended outcome.
Outstanding teachers constantly develop their management skills
Preventing student management problems from occurring in the first place is the goal of an outstanding teacher. Outstanding teachers make their expectations very clear to students and can anticipate problems and if they do arise react accordingly to prevent further disruption. Outstanding teachers have many low-key techniques for responding to inappropriate behavior and will always try to use these as a first option. Outstanding teachers do not need to yell at their students!
Outstanding teachers are reflective teachers
Outstanding teachers want to improve to become a more effective teacher. They participate in professional development, they connect with other outstanding teachers, they seek feedback and advice and they self-evaluate for self-improvement.
“Remember, the perfect teacher does not exist, but we all can become better teachers. Continual improvement of our teaching skills is the essence of professionalism in our field” (Good & Brophy, 1991).
What would you add to the list? What do you think makes an outstanding teacher?
If you’re a new teacher and you’ve also been feeling overwhelmed and stressed, then I’m here to help and support you.
I know what it’s like being a new teacher…..the excitement…..the trepidation…..the nerves…..and I also know the lack of support provided to new teachers.
Many new teachers are told to either sink or swim…..that was certainly the case for me!
But I don’t believe new teachers should be treated like this. New teachers should be nurtured and supported and provided with all of the opportunities to not only succeed but to THRIVE.
That’s why I created the Teacher Burnout Challenge. Over the next few days, I’ll send you some tips and actionable steps that you can take to get on top of that overwhelmed feeling – along with some freebies too!
To get some great self-care strategies and tips for getting on top of teacher stress and burnout, sign up below.