12 questions to ask yourself about your teaching (that only you can answer)

Whether we’ve been teaching for decades or months, there is one thing about our teaching that should never change.

Question Everything.

Because you change, students change, classrooms change, subjects change, expectations change, technologies change. The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.

It’s important that we step back from ourselves and ask big questions. Ask, answer honestly, then take action.

Here’s 12 questions every teacher should be asking themselves.

1. How do I know I’m doing a good job?

I’ve never met a teacher who doesn’t want to do a good job, who isn’t trying their best. This question isn’t about effort, it’s about reflection.

How am I measuring my results as a teacher?

Am I asking my students for feedback? Formally or informally? Am I asking them the right questions?  Am I taking this feedback on board?

Am I visiting other teacher’s classrooms? Am I learning anything from these visits? Are teachers visiting my classroom? Am I receiving any feedback on these visits? Am I putting this feedback into action?

2. What do I expect from my students?

What are my expectations in my classsroom? For effort, behaviour, homework, results. Do I expect the same thing of all students? Why or why not? Do my actions match my expectations? Are my expectations consistent?

3. Why does my classroom look like this?

Why is the furniture arranged this way? Does my desk need to be here? Where are the student desks? Do I need all these student desks? Where do I stand and why do I stand there?

Are the wall coverings useful, useless or distracting? Take another look at those posters? Does anything send the wrong message?

I’ve covered this question before. Why do classrooms have fronts?

4. Could I be providing better feedback to my students?

How Am I providing feedback to my students? Verbal, written, audio, video? Why?

Is it:

  • timely?
  • actionable?
  • Specific?
  • Tied to goals?

5. Why do I use technology like this?

Why are my students on their computers right now? Is this enhancing the learning? How could I use technology better?

Are my students using the technology to consume or create? Does it matter?

6. How do I check my student’s understanding?

Is a diagnostic test the best idea here? A written paragraph? A video? How about a face-to-face conversation?

Once I’ve checked my student’s understanding, what am I doing with that information? If they don’t “get it”, what am I going to do about it?

7. How am I differentiating the learning?

Am I personalising the learning for each student? How am I extending the learning for students? How am I helping those who are struggling?

Do I understand the needs of individual students? Am I aware of how best to differentiate within my subject area?

8. Could I be communicating with parents better?

Do parents know what is happening in my classroom and should they? Are parents aware of what homework has been set and should they be? Do parents know me?

What part, if any, should parents be playing in their child’s education?

9. How am I building relationships with my students?

Do I treat all students with respect at all times? Do I know them as people? Is it important that I do or don’t? Did I ask them about the weekend?

How would I characterise the relationships I have? Friendly? Cordial? Hostile?

Is this an appropriate and desirable relationship to have with students and what am I doing to change/maintain it?

10. What could I be doing better?

Where am I currently dropping the ball? Be firm but fair. I’m not teaching as well as I could be. What small change can I make to improve the learning for my students?

11. What am I doing really well?

How am I succeeding? What am I doing really well? What have I done to celebrate my success recently?

12. What question do you need to ask yourself?

Think hard.

QUESTION EVERYTHING

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