Think back to when you were in school – did you have any teachers that were just, well, to be honest, bad teachers? Or maybe there are some teachers you know now who are just simply not that effective.
It’s certainly not our job to point fingers or critique others, but what we absolutely should do is take a long, hard look at ourselves and make sure that we are not falling into any of these bad habits.
So, here you go, 7 habits that, in my opinion, will cause us to be a less effective teachers.
7 Bad Habits of Ineffective Teachers
- Focusing on being liked. Everyone wants to be liked, but if we keep thinking about how we want our students to like us, this is absolutely going to affect our teaching. And not in a good way. We’ve gotta’ focus on being a good teacher whom our students can respect. And that means seeing ourselves as their mentors, not their pals. Ironically, students normally end up liking teachers they respect more than ones who are trying to be the “cool teacher.”
- Yelling at the students. I think all of us have yelled at some point, but if this is your habit, it’s not a good one. Yelling rarely produces any good results and almost always results in a loss of respect. So instead of berating students and flying off the handle, try taking a deep breath, getting quiet, then calmly but firmly saying what needs to be said. I talk more about this in my post “Should We Ever Yell at the Kids?”
- Letting little things go. When I first started teaching I let a lot of little things slide because I didn’t want to whack kids on the head for seemingly insignificant misbehaviors. The problem, though, is that if you fail to address little problems, they fail to stay little. They quickly grow, and soon your class is out of control and you are definitely not effective (at least that’s what happened to me). What I learned is that I needed to address each issue, even if it was simply saying something like, “Ian, please sit up in your seat.” I talk more about this in my post “Why We Need to Deal with Problems Before They’re Problems.”
- Being inconsistent. It’s tough to be consistent. Believe me, I know. (I even wrote about it here.) But being inconsistent in our classroom management leads to a multitude of problems. So we’ve just gotta’ do it. We’ve gotta’ learn to be consistent. (Unless there’s a very good reason not to be. See my post “Should Teachers Give Grace in the Classroom?” for more thoughts on that.)
- Failing to properly prepare. We all have days that we realize last minute that we forgot to make copies of that worksheet we really need, but if we find ourself habitually starting class not sure what we’re doing today, we are in trouble. Yes, we might make it through the class, but we’re certainly not going to be as effective as we could be if we’d prepared adequately. So, let’s determine to do our best to prepare as much as possible. And if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, do what you can now and determine to put in the work over the next summer so you’re not in this position again. (And don’t neglect to prepare your classroom management strategies!)
- Being defensive. Whether it’s a student, a parent, or an administrator who’s critiquing us, when we get defensive we rarely deal with the issue correctly. We need to seek first to understand and be open to the possibility that there might be a better way. We’ll grow as teachers and also gain a lot of respect. A little humility sure goes a long way. I write more about this in the post “How to Handle Constructive Criticism.”
- Thinking that you’ve figured it all out. Whenever we start to think that we’ve got in down, that we don’t need to keep learning and growing, we start stagnating. And we’re less effective than we could be if we kept looking for new ideas and better ways to teach.
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