Confessions of a Super-Teacher

2016 has been a great year for me professionally. I found twitter, I started blogging. I’ve been promoted (twice) and received one of four teacher awards at my school’s speech night. I became one of twelve flipped learning global master teachers, one of six finalists in the QLD Teacher Excellence awards and was named an Advance QLD Digital Champion. I hosted two webinars, spoke at five conferences and hosted two full day flipped learning seminars.

This has led to more than one person at school playfully referring to me as “Super-Teacher”. I’m not a huge fan of this new moniker, so I think I should probably set the record straight.

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Very often I am unsure about how to teach a particular topic. I am incredibly lucky to sit in a staffroom where everyone is more experienced than I am. “How would you teach this?” is something I turn to my colleagues and say OFTEN.

There have been many lessons this year when I know we didn’t hit the learning goals, when some students left the room more confused than when they arrived. Sometimes I pitched the work too high and students got lost, sometimes I pitched it too low and students got bored. More than once I had to say, “forget yesterday, let’s try again today”.

Education is about relationships and there are some relationships which didn’t work out as well as they could have this year. I tried but I know there were some conversations and interactions that I could have handled better. It’s only November but I’m already vowing to do better in 2017. To be more patient, more kind, a better listener.

Behaviour management is not difficult at my school but there have been times when I could have handled my classroom better. I know there were times I let small blips escalate by dealing with them poorly. I know prevention is better than cure and there were times I acted too slowly.

By every teacher measure, there were many times this year I missed the mark.

The Superpowers All Teachers Need.

Despite my obvious deficits, I will still grudgingly accept the title of Super-Teacher. But I also believe you might be a Super-Teacher too.

What superpowers does a Super-Teacher possess? I think there are only three that really matter.

Remarkable Reflection – The power to reflect honestly and critically upon our own practice. What worked, what didn’t and how to improve.

Gargantuan Growth Mindset – The power to believe that we can always improve. The teacher we are today is not the teacher we will be tomorrow. We can always get better.

Super Colossal Collegiality – The power to share the things we have learned with our peers. Because we’re all in this Super-Teacher business together.

With just those three superpowers, you’re a Super-Teacher.

Did I miss any Super-Teacher superpowers? Let me know in the comments below.

7 comments

  1. A few years back I realised that there were great teachers then this other type of Jedi type teachers. Those are the ones that have a ‘feel’ for this business of learning. For this type of teacher learning and teaching become synergistically entwined into one dynamic flow of reflection, innovation and practice. But more importantly, Jedi teachers connect with their students and colleagues in ways that are beyond the mundane and forgettable to become a creative learning Force.

    The Force is strong in you, for sure.

    1. Where’s the “like” thumbs up when you want it?!
      Thanks Joel. For your latest blog post.
      Indeed, your work colleagues WOULD see you as ‘super teacher’, with that evergrowing list of awesome achievements on the grand scale (as many of us in your blog world – most you’ve probably not met – would concur!). But – THANK YOU for humanising yourself here! Mistakes made. Improvements to be made for sure!
      Mostly, thanks for sharing. Your gifts, skills, learnings. We appreciate this very much. I will again be sharing your blog with my staff, and encouraging them to follow you.
      Keep doin what you do!

      *Some of us aren’t ready to blog our teaching journeys – but it helps to reflect along the way, via twitter and other social forums.

      1. Thanks so much for your kind words Carmel. Social media (including a blog) is often a highlights reel and hopefully this post evens things out a bit. I definitely have my fair share of tough days!

        Blogs are all well and good, but it’s the sharing in the staffroom or within your school which can make the biggest difference. Sounds like you’re already doing plenty of that!

  2. Hey Joel, well done and well deserved! Congrats! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a “super teacher” or “jedi”, its just a tag, if you’re good, you’re good! I agree, its the sharing and even asking students to give feedback on stuff you do that makes the difference. See you for more sharing in Adelaide!

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