The most impactful decision a teacher can make in their career is to welcome feedback from others about their teaching skillset. This is because your own opinions are limited by your perspective- you are one person, seeing yourself in one way. But, when you receive feedback from others who have a perspective unlike your own, you expose your potential to an upgrade.
The word 'feedback' can bring feelings of anxiety to teachers because it is usually followed by negative comments on instructional performance in the classroom. But, feedback doesn't have to be a negative experience that steals an educator's joy. It can be an empowering moment in a teacher's career because it can unlock a potential they never knew existed.
This is why...
Someone else can see what you don't see. They view your classroom from a perspective that is not your own and because of that they are able to find areas where you shine that you might have overlooked and areas that need tweaking that you might not have considered.
No matter if it is the first or last day on the job, a teacher can always hone their craft by being 'coachable.' This means feedback from others is encouraged by you so that you can become better for your students.
Below are 5 easy steps any educator can begin implementing today to become 'coachable:'
Be Open to Other's Opinions
Just because you are willing to listen to what someone has to say doesn't mean you are actually willing to implement their ideas. Being open to their opinion means that when you listen you are considering their perspective and background knowledge, both of which could be helpful in enhancing your performance. If you listen with closed ears just for the act of listening, then you limit your improvement. But, if you listen with open ears that look for opportunities to borrow ideas, you open yourself for immediate improvement.
Do the Work
Listening doesn't actually lead to improvement, but action does. Therefore, after you listen to feedback, decide what your action steps will look like and begin implementing them as soon as possible. There is no reason to wait to get better when you can get better today.
Sometimes teachers feel stuck like their performance has hit a plateau. In these moments, it is a good time to try something out of the norm and take a risk in the classroom. Mixing up your approach can have quite a positive outcome. These new approaches can bring excitement to students, inspiration to the teacher and an upgrade in teaching potential.
Let the Data Talk
When you listen, put in the work, and try something new you are truly investing in your own self to better help students. But just because you take action, doesn't mean it always results in a positive impact. Therefore, it is important to consider the data in the work you do with students. Wait a few days before consulting the data to ensure you have the most accurate results. If the data talks positively for any new implementations, continue doing them. If the data talks neutrally or negatively for any new implementations, revise your approach as needed.
Reflect to Know Yourself Best
If educators never take a moment to stop and reflect on how things are going, they might continue on a path that has little return on investment or even worse, they might miss out on the opportunity to celebrate how well things have turned around. Regardless of whether the teacher consults the data or their gut, reflection allows teachers to take a step back, consider what is in front of them, and move forward with clarity and a plan.
Just because someone told you to do something does not mean you have to implement their ideas. But, when you at least consider it, try new things and reflect upon what is and isn't working, you are on your way to becoming a more effective educator for your students.
How do you remain coachable?