Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be a Better Teacher by Doing Less - Teacher Habits

Be a Better Teacher by Doing Less - Teacher Habits:

Be a Better Teacher by Doing Less

About this time every year I open a file on my Chromebook called “Goals.” It’s a living document that changes every May.  I decide which of the current year’s goals I want to keep, what to scrap, which ones to tweak, and I add new goals for the upcoming year. The last few years, many of my goals have centered around me doing less work. That’s not normally something people admit, but in the case of teachers, doing less can make you more effective.
Like most new teachers, I read Harry Wong’s The First Days of Schoolwhen I was starting out (I’ve also read it every August since). My favorite quote from the book is:
“The reason teachers are so tired at the end of the school day is that they have been working.  If I worked as hard as many teachers do, I’d be as tired too.  But have you ever noticed what happens at 3 0‘clock when the students leave? “Yea, yea, yea!”  Why are they so full of energy?  Because they have been sitting in school all day doing nothing while the teacher does all the work.  The person who does all the work is the only one doing any learning!”
It took me years to internalize the truth of this. For most of my career, I have been the dominant presence in my classroom. My need to feel in control, my mistaken belief that my doing more would lead to greater Be a Better Teacher by Doing Less - Teacher Habits: