Why asking for help is the best teaching strategy you will ever use!

I was recently asked how I got so good at teaching, how I know so much and why I have a large suite of skills in the teaching and learning space.

Apart from this being a massive compliment, it was also a bit of stump for me. How? I don’t really know… I have over 12 years experience, surely that’s why?

I sat with this for a while, playing the questions over and over in my head, when I finally realised how…

In my first years of teaching, there was no denying I was eager to please and ready to do my best. I certainly didn’t know what I know now, and there was so much I had to learn as a new teacher, and that’s exactly why I did. I learnt.

At every moment possible I asked for help. I was constantly in my mentor’s office asking for help on this and that, having her in my classroom model lessons for me and help me, set up groups. I was like a sponge, and probably like that annoying student who never stops asking questions too.

Asking for help was the best thing I could have done as a new teacher. I learnt so much, was keen and eager and certainly was not afraid to fail.

Asking for help can sometimes make you think people will judge you, making you wonder if you are good enough, or that you don’t know what you are doing when you’re should or that you’re failing at teaching.

This isn’t the case.

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. It sees you improve and be even better. It shows other you too are here to learn, grow and improve. Not because you aren’t good enough, but because learning never ends, for our students and us.

Be brave. Ask for help.

Lean on those around you. Ask your colleagues and teacher friends, or the teacher you don’t really know but who everyone says is amazing, ask your school leader or principal, ask in your network or neighbouring school. The great thing about teachers is that they are always willing to help.

What do you need help in?
Who can help you?
Can I help you?

Asking for help is the best thing you can do, no matter where it is you are needing help, or where you want to improve.

Let’s talk about displays…

classroom

Let’s talk displays…

So as we start a new year, get excited about our new students and plan to have the best classroom ever it’s easy to get distracted from what displays are really for.

Already this year I have been in a number of classrooms, seen evidence in the print room and noticed a few photos on my news feed of classrooms that really are ‘pretty’.

But pretty? Really?

Is that what we are going for?

The Pinterest pretty classroom? The matching lettering all neatly cut out? The double mounted, colour printed posters on every wall classroom?

Just why do we feel the push, the need, the force to have these impeccable displays?

Too often displays are all about the teacher…

NEWSFLASH – displays are not an opportunity for you to show your artistic ability, practice your interior design skills or perfect your poster making and laminating skills.

It’s been shown that displays actually don’t have much impact on learning at all .. Unless they are specific, relevant and the students actually use them.

So let’s talk about that.

Displays should be relevant:
Relevant to what you are teaching, the skills the students are learning and what you are looking for to see if they are learning (think assessment).

They should be interactive:
Students need to be able to use displays, go to them to check if what they are doing is right or to see how they can improve their work.

They should be created by: Students need to have ownership of the displays. They need to be part of putting them together, they need to have input.

So take a look around your classroom. Are you displays relevant, interactive and created with students? Or are they a demonstration or your inner Picasso?