7 Qualities of Outstanding Teachers and Leaders:

New Methods to Engage Your Students
October 28, 2018
5 Different Instructional Strategies for Teachers or Leaders
March 28, 2019

1. Get to Know each Student Personally:
As the class gathers for the first time, ask students to complete a survey that you’ve prepared in advance. (If you’re working with young children, just ask them to raise hands to answer questions, or do a “call and response” exercise with them, e.g., you say: “What is your name?”
students respond; “My name is _______” or, have them draw a picture of something they like.) Older students: Ask them for their: name, where they live; etc. ~ all of the usual items at the beginning of a resume. Then ask more specific questions, e.g., What is your favorite music? What is your favorite ________? What do you want to learn in this class? What are your life goals/career goals? (Time permitting: have students get into groups, discuss answers, and then share something about another person with the class.)
You, as the teacher, can refer to some of these personality traits when appropriate in future classes. The students will know that you care enough to learn and remember something personal about them.

2. Get to know each of their names immediately:
Look at each person and say his/her name and relate it to something that you can remember, e.g., outfit, hair, rhyme, song, etc. Even if you have a class/group of 60 or more. {I’ve learned the names of each person in a class of 60 by: making a seating chart of where they choose to sit; asking them to fill in their name where they sit in each row; asking them to sit in that seat at the beginning of each class (they can move after I take attendance); and, saying their names in the seating chart order.}
This exercise not only stimulates your own brain and memory, but it lets the students know that you care enough, not only to remember something about them, you also care enough to remember their name. That means a lot to each person.

3. Be Compassionate, Caring, and Passionate about sharing your knowledge with students:
On your first meeting, ask students to help you in establishing rules, regulations, etc. {If the students are very young, do a “call and response” of all of your expectations at the very beginning of the first class. Make all of the rules very clear and follow-through on the first day.} If the students are older, ask them for feedback of what they think should be expected of them regarding attendance, behavior, participation, etc. Then, ask them to help you spell everything out very clearly. That way, the students have helped to outline their own expectations and consequences. Once again, this is student “buy in.” If they have to miss a class for a valid reason, ask them to let you know in advance, if possible. If not possible, ask them to contact you with the valid reason.
Tell them that you’re going to trust them like they can trust you. “The Trust System” ~ doesn’t always work, but it’s a nice thing to try.

4. Ask Students for their Input, Feedback, Opinions regarding Class Activities, when appropriate:
Give students choices for different activities that could possibly result in the similar competencies or outcomes. As a teacher/leader, guide the class in a benevolent manner: try not to lecture, act like a “know it all,” or rule like a dictator. Ask the students to be team members in your class. Tell them that you appreciate their ideas and input and ask for this on a regular basis; they’ll appreciate your respect for their ideas, and they’ll appreciate you.
My belief: “When I stop learning, then I’ll stop teaching.” I always learn something new from the students I’m teaching.

5. Be Patient and Adaptable; learn all of the ways that your students understand concepts and acquire knowledge; employ these methods of teaching in the class.
My belief is: “If a student in your class is not learning the competency or skill that you are teaching, then you’re teaching it the wrong way to that student.” {Please see my post on Differentiated Teaching Methods.)
Educate yourself and employ the proper motivators and methods in order for each student to learn. Always try to focus on giving positive reinforcement for your students’ tasks, when it is warranted.

6. Be Open and Hones: Communicate your goals for the class in a thoughtful manner.
Give students the tools to learn the competencies expected within your classroom. Be thorough and detailed in your instructions; let the students engage in peer mentoring.
“I always share with my students, that when they’re directing an activity, they can never be too specific with their instructions.”

7. Smile, Be Pleasant, and, when, or if possible, be Witty:
I tell my students that many times before I walk into one of their classes, I might have had a bad day or not be feeling well. But, I always try to “slap on a smile,” act like I’m glad to see everyone, pretend I’m in a great mood and begin an engaging class in a passionate manner.
After about 5 minutes or so, I do feel happy to be there, doing what I’m doing. I forget why I was feeling bad before class.

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