16 Characteristics of a Modern Teacher

As I grapple to find a healthy balance between my teaching and administrative responsibilities one thing has become abundantly clear to me: my learning and teaching have become messy. 

Upon further self-reflection, I have even admitted to my students (on several occasions) my struggle with finding harmony; that while some days are great, some are not so much.

I recently began to record myself periodically in my classes over the past couple of weeks. I was curious to observe that what I’m communicating jives with how I’m actually feeling and how they both, in turn, impact our collective learning environment (classroom culture).

Here’s a couple of selected transcribed phrases that I have (apparently) uttered to either a student and/or an entire class:

“I’m not sure if this will work [soldering a piece of something], but let’s try it together anyway?”

“Who can help me with this [HTML coding] because I’m not doing a good job of explaining it to…?”

“It’s been a rough day for me, too, but I’m here to learn with you.” 

“From the options that I have offered [in our makerspace class], what is it that you want to learn?”

“I don’t know the answer to this…maybe you could find out and teach me?”

“Huh…thanks for showing me. I had no idea…”

“Today, I wanted to share something with you [growth mindsets] that isn’t in the curriculum. What do you think?”

It would be quite accurate to assume that at the beginning of my career (over 16 years ago) that those kinds of confessions would be rare or even conceivable. The language of pedagogy has evolved out of necessity. It has become more empathetic and generative in nature.

I have also noticed that my overt honesty, admittance of the unknown, demonstration of perseverance, invitation for opportunity to make mistakes, and capacity to step outside my comfort zone (yes, the idea of learning coding kinda freaks me out, but I’m going to learn along with my students anyway), and an embrace of change have actually put me at greater ease in both the classroom and as a school leader. And actually, I believe that I have become better at both, too!

Below is a simply elegant and amazingly rich infographic courtesy of Reid Wilson (@wayfaringpath) that clearly defines what it means to be a teacher in the new realm of education (full disclosure: none of it has anything to do with mastering anything including technology!).

Infographic courtesy: Reid Wilson
Share and share alike!

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