I have been teaching for 15 years now and have been a consultant for 1 day a week for just over 5 years. I have therefore been fortunate enough to learn from so many educators in a wide range of schools and sectors.
In this time, what I have noticed whilst observing many lessons is how we teachers often forget to do things that would almost all the time make our life much easier and enable the students to learn far more effectively.
For the purpose of this blog, consider the last lessons you taught. Think about the subject, and the age of your students.
Did you make the following ‘mistakes‘? I call them mistakes on purpose, because errors are things that we don’t know are wrong, or we have misunderstood something and thought it was the correct thing. Whereas mistakes are generally committed because of a number of reasons but ultimately we know when highlighted to it that an alternative way would have been better or more correct!
In no particular order did you…?
- Give instructions to the class when somebody was talking?
- Give students a timeframe to do a task and then cut it short massively? Not because they had finished the task, but because you wanted the class to move on to something else/new.
- Give students a timeframe to do a task and then extended it massively? Not because they needed more time, because you got the initial timeframe wrong for how long the task should take?
- Warn a student about a sanction that you did not carry through?
- Not photocopy the correct number of sheets?
- Had information displayed on your PowerPoint that you told the students to ignore?
- Needed information presented on your PowerPoint that you did not include?
- Promised to do something, but then skipped past it, because you ran out of time?
- Gave instructions for a task once only?
- Say to a student you would return to them and didn’t?
- Say sorry to your class because they could not read the information on the board?
- Threaten your class with silent writing, instead of the class discussion?
- Sanction the whole class for a few students?
- Give an easier task to a student(s) to keep them occupied?
- Ask a student to share a sheet and then wait for their partner to finish?
None of the above is to shame anybody, or make anybody feel that they are a bad teacher. I have personally made all of the mistakes above at some point in my teaching. I wanted to highlight them because I think some of them can be easily avoided by them being highlighted to us. By doing so we can improve the teaching and learning our young people receive.