How Self-Analysis and Reflection Can Help a Teacher Improve
The CEO of a multi-million-dollar company I worked for once told me, “Change or change will change you.” This motto has stuck with me since the day I heard him say it. It’s part of the reason why I decided that I want to be a teacher. I know it’s going to bring me out of my comfort zone and force me to do things that I otherwise would never do. A teacher can never stop learning; one has to constantly improve. Otherwise, what’s the point? Some of the most important ways to ensure that one improves as a teacher are to self-analyze and reflect. It’s fine to use these tactics at one’s own pace and discretion, but they are of utmost importance.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jered M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Revision and Goals
A teacher must review each lesson before class, and then sets goals for the class. Each class, or lesson, should have an overall goal that the teacher wishes to achieve. It may be helpful for the teacher to fill out some type of lesson review sheet to help them outline the order in which they wish to teach the class, along with allotted times for drilling, worksheets, activities, etc. In addition to the in-class related notes, the teacher should also leave a space for reflection and analysis. This way, once the class is over and still fresh in the teacher’s mind, he or she can write down any notes on things that went well or the challenges that they faced. Also, the teacher could create a post-class questionnaire to fill out. It should include questions such as: Was the lesson too hard or too easy? Did the students understand all of the instructions? Were the students engaged the entire time? Did the students enjoy the activity? Which part of the class did the students enjoy and dislike most?
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The teacher should be able to look at any in-class challenges, analyze them, and then troubleshoot reasons as to why they were a challenge. Next, he or she can brainstorm ideas as to what they can do in the next lesson to improve and help avoid the challenges from happening again. Another way to reflect on negative things that happened in class is to ask oneself, “Why did that happen?” A teacher needs to go a little deeper into their feelings to figure out reasons why they thought something was a challenge, or why they reacted a certain way. Some tools that may help a teacher reflect are video recording the class, having a superior or a peer watch the class, asking the students to fill out a teacher evaluation sheet, or keeping a personal reflection journal.
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Saving Good Ideas for Future
Adversely, the teacher can keep mental notes of things he or she did that produced a positive outcome and try to incorporate similar ideas into future lessons. This could be teaching techniques, the way activity was run, the method in which a lesson was taught, the way a worksheet was designed, or even something as simple as a joke he or she told. A teacher could make a reminder list of good habits to maintain, as it can be easy to fall back into bad habits that could produce a negative outcome. Also, it can be helpful to discuss techniques or methods with other teachers. As stated before how it is a good idea to let a peer observe your class, it could be equally as helpful to observe another teacher’s class. Teachers should work together to improve as the students they are teaching is the future of the world.
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I’m sure every teacher once had a teacher that greatly impacted their life, therefore all teachers should strive to be the best they can be and make an effort to impact their students’ lives. I can recall a few teachers who impacted my life while I was in school. Maybe at the time I didn’t take it so seriously, or appreciate them as much as I should have, but the impact lasts they made lasts. I hope that I can one day make them proud by being the best teacher I can be. I must not ever become comfortable, that I am continuously using self-analysis and reflection to improve. I think as long as I stay mindful of this, I will be able to create similar lasting impacts on my students’ lives.
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