Welcome back, Friends!
Hopefully you had a chance to pull out that calendar and schedule time for you. Self care is so important. If you are not good, you definitely cannot give your best. Now that we have our personal goals for success in place, let’s continue by discussing some helpful ways to be successful professionally. The three tips I’m offering are like a reverse gradual release strategy. LOL I do, you do, we do.
As I previously stated, if you’re not caring for you, you can not give your best, at least not for long. The same is true professionally. If you are not investing in yourself professionally, you will become stagnant in your teaching practices.
So, the first thing you want to do to ensure professional success is to engage in professional development. Attend conferences, read books, participate in webinars, take courses toward an advanced degree or certification. And here is a little thing that I do that I’ve actually never told anyone. (Shhhh!) I like to explore other areas. I may be an English and social studies teacher, but I have taken courses in health studies, technology, and some that are spiritually rejuvenating. Now, this may not work for you, but I love to see how I can incorporate other aspects of life into my teaching. Taking courses that are unrelated to education often gives me a boost of energy. I have a new appreciation for other professions and the work my students will have to do to reach their professional goals.
Next, you should try to find unique growth opportunities for your students. What you do in this area is definitely going to depend on the age of your students. Here are some suggestions that may work for your group:
- Community Service or Service Learning – Although many schools now require students to have community service hours, all do not. Find places around your community where students can volunteer.
Ex. Elderly housing development, soup kitchen, or a place like Matthew 25 Ministries or the Red Cross. We have also done some cool lessons with the book Wear am I Wearing and Where am I Eating by Kelsey Timmerman.
- Reading Buddies – Have your students visit students in a lower grade and read to them.
- Attend a career fair. Before attending we talk about goals and potential career interests. For this type of experience I typically send my students with a clipboard and packet of questions to ask people at the booths. If you are interested in this packet please send an email to customteachingsolutions.com and I would be happy to provide you the template.
The final area to focus on is growth opportunities for you AND your students. I find that when I am learning along side my students we grow together in a unique way. My students see that learning really is life long. I know this can be tough because teachers are ultimate planners and need to preview potential resources before exposing the students, but it can be done. Here are some suggestions:
- Field trips – Choose three experiences for a curriculum based field trip. These need to be trips that you have not previously taken. Then, allow your students to vote.
- Speaker – Having a speaker present to your class, or a group of classes is always fun. For example, as a social studies teacher I might contact the VA and ask if someone can come speak to the class while we are discussing war.
- Role Reverse – Allow your students to teach you how to do something. I typically have students get into groups of 2-4 and decide on a lesson they want to teach.
These experiences are really great ways to build trust and facilitate learning through the year. I would love for you to share some activities you have tried with your students.
Taking a fresh look at your classroom teaching practices allows for continual growth, but also gives you new reasons to love what you do. While teaching the same way every day of every year can make things easy, it also makes them boring. Our students thrive off our passion and excitement for educating.
So feed your passion by refreshing your perspective.
Comment below with your experiences or additional ideas. We love discussion. 🙂
Cheers to professional success!
If you missed part one, you can read it HERE.