Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Teaching Tip #36

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #36

If you’re looking for an engaging listen or for some professional development, the Entreleadership podcast has been my go to for three years now.  There is no question I’m a better teacher because of it.

Andrews works with business moguls, NFL and NCAAF coaches, and everyone in between to help them improve their business and coaching strategies.

I believe that teaching is coaching and vice versa, so when I saw this episode on my podcast app, my ears perked up.

And I hit the mother load.

Andrews’ take is not revolutionary by any means.  You can boil it down to this – if you want to get results that are different than everyone else, then you have to do what everyone else isn’t doing.

Sounds simple, right?

But here is the catch: the best way to do this is to start with small – seemingly insignificant changes.  Think of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point here.

So what little changes can you enact that – over time and done with enough consistently – that will pay huge dividends down the road.

Here are the little things that I have changed over the past few years that have had the greatest impact on my teaching, the culture of my classroom, and impacted students the most.

Note --- none of these are world changing.  If I can’t do them, anyone can.

Small change #5 – Go out of your way to interact with students.

This is one of my favorite small changes I have made that has gone a long way to building culture and showing how much I care.

I was inspired one day as H and I talked in the hall on our way to the staff room.  I noted as we walked down the hall that H said “hi” or “hello” to every single student.  

I don’t know if H actually knew them all, but there was no denying that he was showing how much he cares.  

I put my own spin on that by going out of my way to connect with students as they walk by my room during hall duty.  I may chirp a kid for her Crocs. I may compliment a kid on his Windsor knot on game day.  I may chirp a student for having a Vikings sweatshirt.  I may compliment another student on her Harry Potter sweatshirt.  It’s all showing that I notice them.  And that I care.

Another thing I’ve changed is to spend some time every single day talking to kids during lunch.  Since I’ve laid a good foundation down during the year, I usually have students beckoning me over to talk to them while I walk through the commons, but if not, I find a few students and I ask them how it’s going or ask them what they’re studying or harass them over some Instagram post I just saw.

Again, this small change has been significant because I’ve already had a dozen students tell me that they’re signed up for my classes this fall and that they can’t wait.  Yes, they can’t wait.  

That’s the power of small changes.

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