There is high demand for educators in the US, and for some recruits the availability of jobs is an important motivation for them to start on this career path. However, for many, this is an authentic calling. They genuinely want to influence the lives of their student and improve the skills and knowledge available in their community.
To fulfill this ambition, it is essential that K-12 teachers have the best mix of both professional and personal skills. Also, they need to know the strategies that go beyond their everyday work of transferring information and abilities to their students.
In other words, there is a great deal more to modern-day teaching than you might realize, especially if you want to maximize the achievements and success of all of the children you come into contact with as an educator.
Vision And Planning
In recent years, there has been a subtle but vital shift in teaching toward creating even more student-centric education models. These take into account individual needs, and they personalize learning experiences. For instance, if you have a clear model for how your students should behave in the classroom and beyond, it cannot be an “off the shelf” ideal that applies to all schools and colleges.
There could be wide-ranging socioeconomic reasons for why one group of students behaves differently from another, and you certainly should not try to apply the same stringent rules of conduct and achievement across all learning abilities and levels. In the UK, this individualized approach is embodied in the wider Every Child Matters policy. This includes the right of all children to “enjoy and achieve” and to make a positive contribution.
The US commitment to equity and excellence in education is not as uniform, with state and federal variations in how these twin goals are approached. However, the fundamental strategy for any US educator is that they need differentiated instruction. They also need to create a vision of where their students need to get to and a strong plan for helping them to achieve it.
Communication And Collaboration
There is clearly a vital need for teachers to have good presentation skills and sufficient interest in their topics to fully engage their students. However, to achieve the best possible outcomes, K-12 educators also need to be proficient at communicating and collaborating far beyond the classroom.
This involves not only becoming part of a cohesive team of colleagues at their schools but also being ready to work with any outside agencies that can support their students. Some of this may be in conjunction with school counselors and may involve dismantling external barriers to learning.
Also, active learning (and improved success) could be supported by field trips or having speakers come into schools to present to groups of student. Working with local employers on joint initiatives can also help educators demonstrate the value of certain lessons and their relevance post-education.
In effect, teachers now need a grasp of the definition and importance of public relations too, as they may need to communicate with a diverse audience to advocate for their individual students, class groups, and schools.
This point leads directly from the above, as to meet the overarching and individual needs of their students, teachers must be ready to be highly adaptable and responsive. That includes being adept at problem-solving and even potentially at conflict resolution and negotiation skills.
A lot of the ability to “shift gears” and respond quickly to situations comes from the sort of training modern teaching professionals receive. They have to be fully familiar with the different ways children learn and the various issues that can prevent or slow down a child’s educational experience.
Also, embracing change to respond well to individual students’ needs involves looking outside their organization for stress factors and opportunities. To be versatile and responsive, teachers need to stay up to date on any community or national and international trends and events that may impact their student body in a good or bad way.
Using Technology To Improve Outcomes
Staying flexible and responsive as an educator also connects to the rapid advances in the technology used in schools and colleges. Fortunately, there are devices and software options that now make it far easier to ensure that every student has more opportunities to be successful in achieving their goals.
However, that relies on the teaching staff being proficient and confident in supporting that process. It is interesting to note that some schools have “gamified” some lessons, replicating the world of online gaming that modern children love. It has resulted in strong evidence for increased engagement and learning.
However, the strategy of introducing fun to the classroom to get better attention and involvement is as old as education itself.
This is one of the most vital aspects of any institution responsible for developing young minds. There needs to be a strong leadership team setting goals, finding the best ways to achieve them, and motivating others to fulfill their roles and responsibilities well. Among the tasks that innovative and successful educational leaders need to be ready to complete, a strenuous effort to protect student safety is a priority.
They must also be effective in applying for funding and improving equity in education. The barriers to these objectives include the differing views on how they can be achieved. As a result of the need for strong educational leadership, online courses are designed to develop students into effective leaders of the future.
Rockhurst University’s online Ed.D. in K-12 leadership prepares students with leadership skills and knowledge of educational policy frameworks and considerations. The program can be completed in two years and aims to bring a modern and inclusive approach to educational leadership that supports classroom safety, public education funding and development of education for whole communities.
The strategy of applying emotional intelligence as an educator is not just having a holistic approach to interactions with your students or being aware of the needs of your team as a leader in education. Emotional intelligence also focuses on remaining alert to your own mental health.
You can’t be an effective teacher and support the success of your student if you are beset by stress and feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Therefore, one of the most important strategies for anyone who wants to help students achieve success is to invest in your own training, development, and personal resilience as an educator and a leader.