Sunday 25 January 2015

How to Help Teachers Become Better Teachers

Unfortunately in this day and age it seems like all schools care about is the bottom line. Students are customers instead of products. Some schools solely rely on student evaluations, which many think are just a popularity contest. I think admin has to support their teachers. There are many ways to become a better teacher. Below are 4 easy ways this can be done.

Very few schools seem to assign new teachers mentors and they are missing out on a huge opportunity to help teachers. Many schools do quite the opposite in fact. All teachers who start at a school, whether experienced or not, should be assigned a mentor. This person can help with things such as navigating the school's intranet, planning lessons, getting used to the school's technology, and even finding out how the copy machine works. Mentors are especially important when teachers don't speak the local language. It can be incredibly frustrating to try to do something simply like enter students' grades in a foreign language.

One of my first jobs had in-service workshops every other Saturday. Yes, people would complain that they would have to go to unpaid training, however, it really helped everyone involved. Two teachers were chosen at a time to present about a specific topic. By doing this, everyone got to present as well as be part of the audience. Learning about new topics and methodology is what teaching is all about since these things change often.

External workshops and conferences
I'm surprised at how few places encourage teachers to go to workshops and conferences. At the very least they should let teachers know about upcoming events. It would be nice if they would also offer to pay for part of the entrance fee.

Online Courses
We literally have the world at our fingertips. Free courses are available online at Academic Earth, Class-Central, Coursera, EdX, Lynda, Skill Crush, U of People, Udemy, and Udacity. You can also get TEFL certs online. Some popular online courses for TEFL certs are the CCELT and the Univeristy of Toronto. You can even do most of the CELTA and DELTA online nowadays. 

Peer observations
Observing other teachers and being observed can help teachers learn new ways of teaching and get feedback on how they teach. The school should set up times when teachers can be observed.


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