8 Ways to Become a Better Educator Every Day

Great teachers self-assess. Poor teachers change nothing.

8 Ways to Become a Better Educator Every Day

Test yourself. Is your teaching solid? Don’t take for granted that students are learning. Give yourself a regular check up. Great teachers learn. They learn about their pupils. They understand their classroom.  They make it better. Great teachers become a better educator every day.

I can tell a great teacher with one question.

“What is the next thing you want to do in your classroom?”

The great ones will immediately talk about the lessons that didn’t work. They’ll share their student’s struggles. They’ll reveal their weaknesses as a teacher. By listening to them, you might be tempted to think that they are an ineffective teacher. You’d be wrong.

Ineffective teachers are some of the most self-confident ones you’ll meet. They have few things they’d change. So, they languish in mediocrity.

Effective teachers are always improving, so they’re always setting their sights on new goals. They are always leveling up and trying new things.

8 Ways to Become a Better Educator Every Day

1. Take the time to reflect.

Journal. Write down areas of weakness. Brainstorm ways to improve. Good practices become best practices with reflection.

2. Ask your students.

Dean Shareski asks his students to give him feedback on each assignment. You can get student feedback at any point in the year. Capture all feedback in the journal where you’ll reflect. (Dean also learns a great deal from their self-assessment, even if it is more questions.)

3. Look at your results.

Administrators don’t like surprises. Good teachers don’t like them either. When your class average drops rapidly — you should be figuring out why. Ask questions. Look at what you did. Figure out what students don’t know.

4. Know who you want to be.

Great teachers make a “to be” list before making a “to do” list. Examine your values. Examine your behavior. How do you line up? What can you do to improve?

5. Know who you don’t want to be.

You can reboot any day you choose. Most teachers have a bad day sometimes.

Great teachers never make bad days a habit. Yelling. A lesson plan that failed. A disciplinary problem. It is your classroom. It is your determination to act that will make it better. Your job is to know when you’re not measuring up. Take action.

6. Seek answers, don’t find fault.

You can take action. Improve your classroom. I had a class one year that became chatty in March. They would not quiet down. I told them that we’d reboot tomorrow with a new seating chart. (UK Teacher Tom Bennett gets the credit for helping me realize this.) 

Although students were not happy about their new seats at first, I reminded them that we were there to learn. I’d rather be happy with learning than have students happy with me. With a new seating chart, we picked up the pace. In the end, we were all happier because we were making progress. And we made great strides.

7. Choose to change.

In this podcast, Michael Hyatt talks about goals. He said that goals should not be inside your comfort zone, but in your discomfort zone. He also mentioned staying out of the “delusional zone.”

Greatness lies outside our comfort zone. But you’re delusional if you think there’s a perfect classroom. Yours is not. Mine is not. But the risk is usually not that we shoot too high. The problem is that some teachers don’t aim to change at all.

8. Face Your Fears

I love what teacher Jon Smith says,

“As teachers, we have to not be fearful of what could happen but focus on what this idea could become.”

As teachers, we have to not be fearful of what could happen but focus on what this idea could become.

I’ve heard that FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” We fear change and trying new things, but we shouldn’t. Instead, we should fear complacency. We should fear a mindset that refuses to change. Because when we refuse to change, we refuse to learn. We give up our role as a lead learner when we refuse to change.

The kids in our room are fearful every day because they are asked to learn every day. They have to see us learning too!

Grow, Don’t Rot.

Some teachers get tired. They think that it is easier to stay the same than to change. If you think you can stay the same, that is a lie. You can’t. You’re either getting better or getting worse. You can’t stay the same. It isn’t possible. Nature abhors a vacuum. In the South we say,

”When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.”

Don’t rot, dear friends. Grow.

Growth is a slow, steady thing. When you learn and apply a little bit consistently, you look back and realize what a big difference it has made. Become a better educator every day. When you do, it means that you’ll be an incredible teacher after a pretty short period. All that growth adds up!

One thing is sure: to not grow is to die slowly. Level up a little bit every day. Your students will be glad you did.

The post 8 Ways to Become a Better Educator Every Day appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/become-a-better-educator-every-day/

Top Blog Posts on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog

November 2015

November has been a busy month. Not only are teachers using new tools, but they are struggling with burnout and old-fashioned interpersonal skills. We are needing inspiration and simple edtech advice as shown by the top blog posts here on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog and shows this month.

Top 10 Blog Posts and Shows on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog and Every Classroom Matters Podcast

Top 10 Blog Posts of November 2015: The Cool Cat Teacher Blog

  1. 10 Ways to Flip a Kid and Turn Their Day Around
  2. Note Taking Skills for 21st Century Students
  3. Why Teachers Need to Keep Going Even When It’s Hard
  4. 5 Ways to Teach Gratitude in Your Classroom
  5. 15 Best Google Drive Add-Ons for Education
  6. How to Use Padlet: A Fantastic Tool for Teaching
  7. 10 Inspirational Videos for Teachers
  8. What To Do When Someone Hates You
  9. 6 Reading Comprehension Problems and What To Do About Them
  10. 8 Great Ways to Level Up Game Based Learning in the Classroom

Top Shows of November 2015: Every Classroom Matters

Every Classroom Matters continues to have more than 110K downloads each month and growing (November stats aren’t in yet.) Thank you to all of you who listen, share, and share your ideas for guests on the show. 

  1. Alec Couros’ Epic Educational Truths – Alec reflects on his career as a teacher and Sylvia Duckworth draws an amazing sketchnote to go with it.
  2. My Lesson Plan is Not Working, The Kids Are Not Learning, I’m Freaking Out with Alicia Roberts
  3. Throwing Students Across the Room Doesn’t Work, This Does Classroom Management expert Steve Miletto reflects with me what could have been done differently in Spring Hill.
  4. How We Can Stop Teaching to the Test and Start Learning (For a Change) with Eric Sheninger about his new book Uncommon Learning
  5. Kid President: Kids Inspiring Kids to Change the World – This was an October Show with Brad Montague, founder of Kid President but it continued to be widely shared in November.
  6. 6 Learning Experiences You Should Give to Every Student with David Jakes as we reflect upon classroom design
  7. How Teachers Can Self-Publish Books with David Hopkins from the UK gives us a simple how-to on self publishing
  8. Improving Teaching through Student Reflections with Dean Shareski who reflects honestly about how we should have students reflect as we improve our lessons.
  9. How I Motivated my Autistic Students to Publish 63 books with Jon Smith
  10. Hip Hop Language Education: Using Rap to Teach, Really? with Jason Levine

November has been a great month! We have several weeks of very hard work left in December and then we have a little break. Yahoo! I know it is silly that I’m still tired after Thanksgiving break, but that is the truth. It is the end of the grading period and final exams at my school. These are stressful times and keeping up with everything is just nuts!

Thank you to the sponsors of Every Classroom Matters!

We’ve had some fantastic sponsors for the show recently! If you haven’t checked them out, take a moment to look at these amazing sponsors:

  • VIF Learning Center has fantastic lesson plans and ways for educators to connect.
  • Lesley University has wonderful online education classes for busy teachers.
  • Bloomz – how I’m connecting with parents this year! I love it and continue to share this one everywhere I go!
  • Volunteer Spot – An awesome tool to connect parents, teachers, and volunteers and easily set up parent teacher conferences.
  • Help Teaching – has a free, fantastic test maker and lots of Common Core and standards aligned resources to help you create and make resources to use in your classroom
  • Staples – I loved doing back to school work with them. This is where I shop! (Just today I picked up my planner paper.)

These organizations have support Every Classroom Matters and the mission of helping every teacher level up every day! I hope you’ll click the links, try their services, and support those who support the show! Remember, your classroom matters! Thank you to all of you who are listening! I have some new sponsors I’ll be announcing soon who are supporting the show and this blog! Thank you for making this work possible.

My Blog Birthday is This Week!

This week I’ll be celebrating 10 years of blogging! Time has flown and so much has happened in 10 years. I’d love to tell your stories. If you have a favorite blog post or something that helped you that should be shared, will you please share by sending me an email at vicki at coolcatteacher dot com!

If you started blogging, did something cool, or had something great happen – shoot me a picture of it or share a blog post. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to celebrate and thank you all for ten great years, but I’m looking forward to hearing your suggestions!






The post Top Blog Posts on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/top-blog-posts-on-the-cool-cat-teacher-blog/