The third step in our journey to enjoy teaching is to learn. Rediscover the joy of learning with formal and informal opportunities. Through continuous lifelong learning, you will become an expert in content and pedagogy.
Learn on the Job – “Sink or float” takes on a new meaning when you become a first-year teacher. You’re now in the water, and you’d better learn to swim! If you’re new to the profession, take it easy. Learn by doing. Try something new each day. Trial and error will teach you what to do in the future.
Learn Your Content – Delve deeper into the subject areas you teach. Read the student material carefully and make sure you understand it. Do some quick research so you can add to the lesson. Comfort comes in knowing more than your students. Flying by the seat of your pants is not an option.
Learn to Call for Help – The heart of collegiality is discussing what works (and what doesn’t). Get in the habit of asking other teachers to help you with problems big and small.
Learn from the Internet – How did we ever get by without Google, Pinterest, and YouTube, not to mention cool education sites like Kahn Academy and Brainpop? The Internet provides information at the tap of a finger, as well as some mighty fine teaching resources.
Learning Over Time
Learn from Other Teachers – Teaching can be lonely! To enjoy teaching, reach out to fellow educators. Find a mentor, coach, or collaborator. Join a professional learning community. If teachers at your school tend to be “islands,” seek colleagues in other places. Participate in education forums, read and comment on blogs, or join professional groups.
Learn Through Professional Development – PD is only effective when it’s relevant and immediately applied. Otherwise, it’s wasted time. Seek programs that are necessary to your teaching assignment. Try what you’ve learned in your classroom.
Learn Through Certification Programs – If you’re interested in a job change, specializing in a certain area, or learning more, go back to school. For the ultimate challenge, seek National Board Certification. As a bonus, these programs provide opportunities to meet like-minded educators.
Learn Through Teacher Evaluation – Sophisticated teacher evaluation systems can be frustrating, but they offer wonderful opportunities for growth. Why not take the plunge and learn to work backward, differentiate, or use higher order questioning.
Learn off the Job – Learning doesn’t end at the schoolhouse door. Apply to work on special projects. Delve into an area of interest. Even if it seems irrelevant, it’s sure to enhance your teaching in some way. Be worldly. Travel, explore, read, surf the Internet.
Learn to enjoy teaching! We, as teachers, learn something new every day. If we reflect on that learning and apply it, we become better teachers. Learning is the most beautiful struggle on earth. Embrace it!