Let’s just get to the point. One of the biggest indicators it’s time to get out of the teaching profession is if you never ask yourself why you’re actually doing what you’re doing in the classroom or you do ask yourself that question and the answer is incredibly lame. What constitutes a lame answer: “It fills the time!” Which is why bad educators frequently choose to show lengthy videos. My advice if you’ve ever done this and really want to turn it around in 2014? DON’T SHOW THE VIDEO. Even if it’s the best video ever made in the history of mankind, but you plan on not incorporating an intellectual discussion, a journaling opportunity or the like, and you personally don’t feel like you are going to take the time to help your students see the film’s art to life connection in a way that will contribute in making them better people for having watched the video, then simply DON’T SHOW THE VIDEO.
This brings me to the main practice every educator should do in the lesson development process (and photocopying a worksheet out of a book or off the internet, is not an indicator that you’re developing anything besides busy work), which is REFLECTION. Reflection shouldn’t only come after the lesson. When creating the lesson plan, activities, etc. you need to ask yourself, “Why am I even doing this?” If the main motivator is: It’s the next page/chapter in the book, it’s going to be on a test, it will keep the kids busy, or …I don’t know….I have to do something….right? Then your “lesson” is now a giant waste of everyone’s time. Of course not a waste of your time, because you took all of five minutes to come up with the “lesson”.
Yes, there are times where you are teaching a skill. because someone higher up is ordering you to do it, but you should still possess the capacity to twist the required, but not always desired, elements into a lesson that you have a personal connection to.
Why? Why? Why? Never stop asking yourself, “Why?” I want my students to be successful. Honestly, you can be successful without a perfect ACT score. At the end of the day if I can teach a lesson that motivates my students to decide if they’re going to strive to be better people–contribute to society in a positive way and treat those in their lives with kindness and respect, knowing it takes hard work, then I’ve done my job, because I treated my students with kindness and respect, through hard work as well. I put the time in, that needs to be put in, to create a lesson with merit and content, not fluff and self-convenience.