How do teachers grow in their craft?

Have you ever heard the saying “sometimes a teacher can learn more from a student than the student can learn from a teacher” (unknown)? I believe that teaching is filled with new experiences and every day is a learning experience. You never stop learning and being in the teaching field we all know that.

The best thing we do for our students is getting to know them, how they learn, what they like, what they dislike and how they think. I had a teacher in 4th grade, who she thought she was teaching us respect and she only called us by our last name and never bothered to learn our first name. A teacher has to be happy about their jobs and actually reflect that and they also have to have a passion for what they do. Like in the Lesson Study Japan video, Mr. Seiyama says that he believes that in order for students to be happy about learning, the teacher has to be happy about teaching the class. It is also important to have resources available to help the educators such as materials, people and assistant from the administration.

The high leverage practice #19 makes an important point, a teacher has to learn to teach which requires time and practice. It states that “teachers study their own teaching and that of their colleagues in order to improve their understanding of the complex interactions between teachers, students, and content and of the impact of the particular instructional approaches”.

As educators, we should not be afraid to take risks, it is like the phrase “without a risk, there is no reward”. Sometimes a new idea for the classroom may be beneficial but if the teacher is afraid to break the routine and try something new, then that is something the educator will be cutting back on. Maintaining a flow or rhythm in the classroom, using materials and technology appropriately, planning according to student ability, and evaluating classroom instruction are all important factors in a learning environment.

Successful educators have a sense of purpose, they are motivated and have goals for all of the students. Students are like sponges (we have heard this before), they absorb everything around them. Kids will pick up on anything, including words used or behaviors performed. Setting objectives for the students is important because this allows students to know what is expected of them without having to guess. Students are like our children, we have to learn when to listen to them or when to ignore them (this is like the children back at home). Some children seek a little attention and sometimes they may need it to move on but there will be times were the educator just needs to ignore it.

For the students praise matters, they love to hear anything good we have to say about them and they love to brag about it with their friends. This important to do it in a smartly manner, because students need encouragement and there will be times where they have not used their full potential. You do not want to create an environment where there is no praise or recognition but you do want to create an environment were any praise is valuable to the student. There is also over doing the praise, and I have done this before and it did not work out the best way. The student feel excited in the beginning but like any new trick, it gets old.

I strongly believe that there are good teachers as there are bad teachers. Sadly teachers are labeled good or bad mainly by the students and their parents. A new teacher usually comes in freshly made, with all of these great new ideas and experiments they want to perform. I once read something that said that usually these teachers were disappointed at how different things actually were compared to what they had learned and studied for years. Usually these teachers have to make changes and improve in many areas to best educate the students. This is where they begin to settle as good or bad teachers. Being a good teacher can go a very long way, I am sure we all have at least one favorite teacher, or one teacher we will never forget about and then the worst one we have had. I have 4 people I am very thankful for, 2 of them were counselors. One of the teachers was my second-grade teacher, she helped me get through the school year by always keeping in touch after I found my baby sisters body. She helped counsel me, helped guide my family through the hardships and I shall always be thankful for meeting her. My high school education teacher went above and beyond to get to know me. Until this day I try to visit her one a month and we catch up, it is very nice to have someone else to fall back on. When my dad passed away I was an incoming fifth grader with a mom who had to step up her game and work two jobs. Our first Christmas was to be spent alone and without gifts because we could not afford them. Our school counselor organized a Christmas dinner party and invited us. We were able to make it (they made my mom take a day off) they had gifts for us which consisted of clothes, jackets, shoes and gift cards. It is something that I shall always cherish. When I moved on to middle school I became a victim of bullying but this counselor was able to pull me out. He always checked in on me, he looked at my grades and made sure that y basic needs were met. We never forget the good teachers we have and we tend to hold on to fond memories.

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11 thoughts on “How do teachers grow in their craft?

  1. Teacher in Training says:

    Hi Leisdi! I loved your blog post this week. It brought up many examples of what teachers should strive to be. When you are a teacher, you play so many more roles than just an educator. You are a child’s mentor, you are their go-to person when they have questions, you are their confidant, and you their friend. As a future educator myself, I have tried to pay attention to the mistakes and achievements of other teachers. By doing this, I can assess them, learn from them, and hopefully make myself a better teacher for my students. Teachers shouldn’t assess themselves and improve to just keep their job. In fact, the National Education Association states that their goal is to “improve teacher practice in order to improve student learning” (NEA, unknown date). The reason we get better should be for the sake of our students, not ourselves. Educators need to create bonds with their students in order to teach them better. It is a well-known fact that students pay attention to people they respect. To improve and gain that respect, teachers need to learn from each other as a community. Social media, conferences, and simple face-to-face communication are great ways to learn and connect with other educators. Too often we forget the resources that we have. We are greatly lucky to live in an age where communication is easy. We should take advantage of this opportunity and connect. Hopefully, by doing this, we can become those mentors, confidants, friends, and educators that we should all strive to be.

    Source:
    National Education Association. (unknown date). Teacher Assessment and Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/TeachrAssmntWhtPaperTransform10_2.pdf

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  2. kristinasmith711 says:

    Hello, you made many great points in your post. I agree with the video when Mr. Seiyama says the teacher has to be happy teaching for the students to be happy learning. It’s so true. Students can tell if you like your job or not. I also agreed with the idea of the lesson study. I think it is important for teachers to work and learn from their fellow teachers. Professional learning networks are also good tools for teachers to be able to learn and get new ideas. In the video, Mr. Seiyama received great information from his co-workers. They told him their ideas on what might be more interesting to the students and different strategies that may work better. There is always something we can learn from someone else. It’s also important for the teacher to reflect back on their lessons. Teachers must always continue to work on their professional development. The article, “What Works in Professional Development?” states, ” A research synthesis confirms the difficulty of translating professional development into student achievement gains despite the intuitive and logical connection. Those responsible for planning and implementing professional development.” I thought this article had some great information. It also states, “Effective professional development requires considerable time, and the time must be well organized, carefully structures purposefully directed and focused on content or pedagogy or both.” Teachers must take time to work on their professional growth and continue to want to further their education to be better teachers. Most importantly, the students will benefit from this too.

    References:
    Guskey, T. R., & Yoon, K. S. (2009). What works in professional development. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(7), 495-500. Retrieved from http://outlier.uchicago.edu/computerscience/OS4CS/landscapestudy/resources/Guskey-and-Yoon-2009.pdf

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  3. teach1205 says:

    Hey Leisdi –

    I think you made some good points on why teachers should keep the attitude they started their career with…motivated, compassion, and the desire to create an environment that children feel safe.
    I think that being a life long learner is what teaching is all about. We are in school as students, next we are in schools teaching the students, and as time goes on we are constantly learning from the students we teach. It’s cycle that is constant and we should always take advantage of the experiences you are exposed to so that we can “grow in our craft” in order to be our best self and support students.
    The idea of a PLN is really a great one, its basically you sounding board, idea board, constructive criticism, and lesson planning adventure guide. The fact that social media is so prevalent in all careers, this makes it the norm to employ some kind of platform to speak on and develop a “teaching circle” with colleagues all over. On the podcast I listened to, they discussed how teaching is an emotional job, and how connecting with other teachers can help you to see that others are going through the same ordeals and you are not alone.
    The High Leverage practice this week was such a great piece of advice for new teachers to keep in mind I think. “Analyzing instruction for the purpose of improving it” makes SO much sense. Not only does this give you an opportunity to share your methods with other teachers, but it allows for you, and others, to see what students are comprehending and then seeing what could be changed in order to better the learning outcome. Getting an outside perspective on your teaching methods, and collaborating is a great way for teachers to grow in their craft.
    As far as being, and continuing to be, a good teacher in the eyes of your students I think that greatly depends on your own self awareness. Teachers need to be able to know when its time to step back and make adjustments that better suite their students.

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  4. studentsarahblog says:

    I loved the quote you began your blog post with this week. I also believe that we learn just as much if not more from students as they do their teachers. Being a teacher is not just a job it’s a passion and that is what a good teacher needs; they need to truly love what they do. All children are different and as teachers we will constantly have to learn and change our methods to better suit their needs. This also correlates with the high leverage practice #19.

    “While teachers often reflect on how they felt a lesson went, their feelings about a lesson may or may not actually correspond with how students felt and whether they learned. Therefore, teachers reach out to colleagues and utilize data from formative and summative assessments to improve their teaching in the short and long term time. Becoming a better teacher is a career-long process.”

    Becoming a teacher is a career long process. I think that this is one of the best explanations of what it takes me become a teacher that I have heard. I think this is really what determines a good or “bad” teacher. A teacher who is not willing or wanting to continue to learn for themselves and for their students will not succeed in the classroom. Being a good teacher often requires networking with other teachers and constantly doing research on new educational methods. Other teachers are sometimes the best sources for new information especially for new teachers. I also agree with where you spoke about successful teachers having a purpose. As teachers we have to have high expectations for our students and do everything in our power to help them succeed. Children truly are like sponges and have the potential to absorb and maintain so much information we just have to learn how to help them do that. I also can remember the few really good teachers I had and many of the things they taught me have stuck with me even today.

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  5. jalisadixon says:

    Hello, Leisid, I really enjoyed your blog post this week! A teacher plays the role of more than just a teacher, we are a friend, a mentor, a listening ear, a counselor and a shoulder to cry on. As a future educator one of my goals is to try and not make the same mistakes some of my not so great teachers made in the past. Because we all learn from each other. In my classes I have been making notes and keeping an opening eye to the opinions of my peers. Many teachers will only make changes in order to keep their job and I think that is wrong. As a teachers you should always put yourself in a position to grow and become the best version of yourself as possible. I was once told the best life long job is being a lifelong student. There is always something new to learn that will better yourself. Most importantly you must create a sense of community and a family bond with your students so they all feel comfortable and won’t be afraid to put their best foot forward. If the students like you and enjoy being around you they will respect you and your life as a teacher will be that much easier because we all know what it is like to have that kid who doesn’t listen as well as some of us being that kid in our past. I found the High Leverage Practice really interesting, I never noticed how many of my professors use exit nuggets to see if we have been paying attention to the lesson and see what we gained from it. I believe it is a really good skill I will be using in my own classroom.

    Thanks
    Jalisa D.

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  6. learnwithboss says:

    I agree with you that teaching provides us endless opportunities for learning and growth, we just need to stay open to these possibilities. I also enjoyed the video Lesson Study from Japan; I kept thinking of the saying “happy wife, happy life” it is a lesson my husband was trying to explain to a Japanse colleague of his. Which reminded me of the line in the piece about “happy teacher, happy students.” The other part of the piece I liked was the peer assessment; I think it is important to learn from others that are doing the same job as we will be doing. I hope to land in a school that is open to building each other up in our craft, and if not then being able to development my own PLN. We are putting a lot of effort into our studies, and we owe it to ourselves to build our networks for our growth and sanity. We need to become stable foundations in the classroom like you said those kids will pick up on things if we aren’t enjoying our professions or if something is amiss, they are like sponges. One of the last things that stuck with me was that you believe there is good teachers and bad teachers, at first I didn’t like that statement. I’m one of those that often sees the glass half full; then I had to reflect on the statement. I believe a bad teacher is one who refuses to change or grow, then yes there is an issue and a whole world of other opportunities for them to work in another profession. Thanks for sharing your insight this week.

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  7. Jo Ann Batson says:

    I have heard that saying before and have always agreed with that saying we as teachers have so much to offer but our students have so much to teach us as well. It’s like the old saying “happy wife happy life” this can spill over into teaching as well as “find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life” both of those quotes are completely true for teaching you have to enjoy what you do because students can tell if you are faking your way through lessons. This is where I feel as if LPN’s can be beneficial to educators they can have new ideas on how to teach the same lesson plan as they taught the year before. They may even find new readings or new ideas that can be used to teach the curriculum and maybe a new way to approach it for students who are having difficulties. I like how you stated we shouldn’t be afraid to take risks this is true like it was stated in the podcast when you take risk’s your students will follow. Ultimately we are trying to make these students test their abilities at succeeding and to push themselves to become better. Students are sponges and it’s up to us to give them everything within our power to provide them with all the tools they need. I remember one teacher when I was in first and second grade who acted like a mother figure for me. My mom was away for work and my teacher was exactly what I needed at the time, teachers have to be everything sometimes to a student.To me this is why it’s important for teachers to enjoy what they do.

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  8. splummerblog says:

    Hi Leisdi, I really enjoyed your blog this week over module 14. I noticed for your blog that you took more of a student perspective in this module rather than looking at what teachers can do themselves. The sense of purpose teachers have is very good point. Teachers are responsible for motivating their students and they cannot be a good motivating force if they themselves are not willing to learn and expand on what they know. Teachers can grow in their craft by being intentional in all their actions. Just patting a student on the back of smiling at a child can change a students day.

    Just like your memory of Christmas and the counselor that always checked on you. Those are the memories all teachers should leave their student with. I think this can be connected to the high leverage practice we looked at this week. If teachers engage thoughtfully with their students and work partners than they can look for ways to make those good memories.

    It is hard for teachers to take risk. Especially now when high stakes testing is the norm and students, teachers, and parents have to rely on class time to get ready for these tests. But regardless of this teachers need to find ways to engage students outside of just test preparation.

    Lastly, teachers can grow in their craft by using those around them to enhance their teaching. These networks can be invaluable when it comes to keeping up with the education field that is constantly changing.

    Thank you again for your post!

    -Skylar

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  9. erikarath says:

    Hey, Leisdi! Thanks for sharing! I definitely do see that there are good and bad teachers out there. I think that as educators, we need to seek a mentor that will guide us in our instruction as well as provide constructive criticism about things that need improvement in our teaching style. Like you were saying, kids absorb things and feed off of your energy pretty easily, so making sure you have a positive impact on their education career is really necessary. Also, expanding your PLN is important because it keeps you on your toes. It is a group of people that are working toward the same goal of meeting their student’s needs as well as coming up with creative ideas to meet those needs. Sometimes that does involve risk! Technology is changing, new resources are being made, so we never truly stop learning. Your PLN helps you grow, challenges you, and shapes you to be the educator that you are. Being in this group needs to be intentional. It is not some random group that you join, but you are supposed to be getting something from this group. PLNs definitely go along with the higher level practice for this week because it is there to help you seek to make an impact among your students. Seek to surround yourself with people that will be honest with you, as well as provide encouragement if something is not going as planned. Being in these communities is important because it will change the way you teach.

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