You know what makes a potentially good teacher an ineffective one? Lack of self reflection.
Self reflection leads to an honest look at your practices. You figure out what you did that works, what you did that did not work, and what you need to try next. Constantly thinking about and adjusting the temperature of your teaching means that you are taking full responsibility for the ONE PERSON that you can control and change: you.
It burns me up when teachers only ever have anything negative to say about everybody else–you know, why their students are not making progress. It is administration’s fault. They are picking on me. It is the students’ fault. They don’t listen to me. It is the curriculum’s fault. It is too hard/too dated/ too much/ too little.
Listen. We all complain. Some days we hate everybody in the building. Because let’s face it: educating kids is hard. Period. Educating students who are not on grade level in reading makes teaching them anything else next to impossible (Notice that I said NEXT TO impossible. Not totally impossible-but I digress). Teaching these days sucks, as I am certain anyone who reads some of my rants on Facebook or WordPress will duly note.
But at the same time: when I get through complaining about my crazy experiences in the classroom, how this colleague came for me when I clearly did not send for her, why this parent thought it was okay to scream at me when he should have been knocking his kid out…
When I get done with all that stress decompression, I LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT KISHA. What could I do differently? What was my attitude like? Could I have taught the lesson in a less complicated way? Have I checked out and need to take a day off so I can plug back in? Am I overwhelmed and need some help?
Too many teachers that I know right now blame everything on everybody without taking ownership of the garbage that they bring to the table (and we all bring something). Be HONEST, my colleagues! Kids are kids–and there has always been and will always be class clowns, low readers, smart ass achievers, bullies, lazy bums, popular cliques, math haters, horrible test takers, and the like. Not to mention uninvolved and petty parents, negative colleagues, useless administrators, and stupid legislators. But what are we adding to the equation? Are we balancing out their crazy with our calm, concern, and self consciousness? Or are we furthering weighing down the scale with our own issues?
Stop blaming everything on “kids these days”. Maybe teachers back in the day were better than you–than us. Maybe they did the one thing that teacher seem to think is not worth their time anymore: self reflect and make adjustments.