A friend stated, “I love what I do, but am I any good at it?” Since she is a fellow teacher, I presume she is talking about teaching.
My first reaction is that we generally love to do things we are good at, so loving it is a good indication that you are probably good at it.
A second thought is that it is really hard to define good. You have to articulate your values or standards before you can evaluate how well you meet them.
My thoughts about myself are that I believe I am a good teacher. What I want is to be a great teacher. I do not think I am there yet, but I am working on it.
What are my standards?
- Show up to class prepared.
- Regard students as human beings and treat them like human beings.
- Take opportunities to learn about how people learn and build in rewards for students who do the things that cause them to learn.
- Be kind when possible.
- Recognize that kind is not always doing what the student wants.
- Be conscious of fairness and always critically look at my fairness.
- Offer inspiration and wonder.
- Catch students doing things right.
- Open the door to creativity.
- Admit when I don’t know or I screw up.
How do I do?
- I often feel like I had a plan (was prepared), but it didn’t work the way I wanted it to.
- I usually do pretty well at regarding students as human beings and treating them like human beings, but some really just wear my patience thin quickly. Treating someone like a human being includes enforcing your own boundaries, but that doesn’t always feel nice.
- I’ve gone to a lot of seminars with the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, I read widely, I’ll go to the Wakonse South Conference on College Teaching again. I’ve incorporated these ideas in my classroom. I am working on this.
- Usually yes, I am kind.
- Sometimes the only way to get through the day is to remind yourself that being kind is not doing what others want.
- I’m still grading too much writing with the “I know good when I see it” standard. I should work on creating more objective standards.
- I try to bring in things that inspire me and make me wonder. I am not sure how that goes over with the students sometimes, but I keep trying. I can’t inspire them if I am not inspired myself.
- Yes, I catch students doing things right.
- Yes, I have at least a few assignments that open the door to creativity. I wish I had more.
- I am pretty good at admitting when I screw up, or I don’t know.