We’ve all done it. Whether it’s a lesson, an assessment, or a whole unit, we’ve all been in the place of knowing that it didn’t work and needed some adjustments. After years in the classroom, here is my list of things to consider for planning and teaching this coming year and years to come.
Focusing Solely on the Test
We learned this lesson in 2020.
I can hear it now. “But Liz…” and I say, “Silencio Bruno!” (watch Luca. Trust me)
What is your goal? Is your goal solely a test, or does it extend beyond that? Yes, we need to prepare them for the test, but isn’t the point to prepare them for active, engaged, and informed citizenship?
Also, what about the students who want to take AP classes but have no interest in the test?
Doing EVERYTHING in class
Stop giving FULL essays, multiple-choice tests, busy work!
You are one person with a limited amount of time. Teaching students the skills allows them to apply them regardless of the situation. Content is essential but is easily assigned outside of class in videos, podcasts, and relevant readings.
NOT seeing professional developement
(Online, In-Person, Self-Directed)
Recently, I read a book, Think Again by Adam Grant, and he suggested throwing out 20% of what you did the year before. There are many professional development opportunities out there, even if it’s self-directed podcast listening or reading. Gilder Lehrman has great self-paced courses.
You don’t have to do it all in the summer! My husband and I did a podcast on professional development, and he gave me my new favorite quote.
Professional development took me from having a job to having a career.Christopher Evans
Comparison Traps/Not Trusting Yourself
I will continue to say this until I am blue in the face. YOU are the expert in your classroom. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING! But, you know your students. And THAT is important. Sometimes it feels like there is a firehose of information out there. Take it one week, one unit at a time.
Podcast: YOU are the Expert!
How to Avoid Teacher Burnout and the Comparison Trap
Blog Post: Tips for Reducing Burn Out For Teachers
Most importantly, take breaks. It’s hard to see the bird’s eye view when you spend the whole time at the street level, running around. Give yourself grace and remember, you are a human being, and so are your kids. Sometimes, we need to remember that.