1. Hold Students Accountable – When dealing with an apathetic student, it is easy to shrug my shoulders and say, “It’s your grade not mine.” At times I even feel it is the right thing to do because by high school the student should be responsible to know he/she must do the work or face the consequences. However, a teacher must wear several hats, one of those being motivator. I’m going to strive to be more than just an assigner of grades, but go further to inspire my students to realize the importance of education.
2. Communicate with Parents More Often – This can be a double-edged sword because some parents are a blessing, while others are a curse. At times, I’ve turned to parents to aid me in improving their child’s discipline or academic shortcomings. Some have responded well, while others stabbed me in the back. Still, I must overcome this fear and enhance parent awareness to be most effective in supporting my students’ academic careers.
3. Teach New Novels – I’ve been teaching the same 9th grade English class for five years. Though I try to bring the same energy to the class as that first year, it’s hard to keep up that same enthusiasm when I’ve taught the book over 20 times. Next year I plan on teaching different novels. Though this will take more time on my part to create lesson plans, tests, worksheets, etc., I think it’ll bring a fresh vibe to the class.
4. Call on All Students – It is easy to fall into the trap of calling on motivated students who always raise their hands. Most often, I get the response I’m looking for and feel I’ve done my job well. I have to stop relying on these students. A principal once told me, “It’s good for your students to be a little uncomfortable sometimes.” If my students know they may be called on at any moment, they will hopefully be on guard at all times and ready with an answer.
5. Grade All Essays within a Week – This will surely be the hardest one. English teachers get hundreds of essays at a time. However, if I set aside a certain number of essays to grade each day, I can break the monumental task of grading the mountain of papers into smaller, doable tasks. The students will then get their papers back in a timelier manner, and my feedback will be more relevant.