Three Basic Keys to Successful Teaching
by Jerry Waxman
Successful teaching comes with being a successful person. The more success you have in pursuing your own personal goals, the more equipped you are in guiding students to attain theirs. This article focuses on three areas in which professionals can improve their performance as teachers by developing successful traits within themselves:
- Knowledge of the subject matter
- Knowledge of the self, and
- Continual self improvement
Be an expert
It may seem obvious that knowledge of the subject matter is crucial to teaching. However, step inside any classroom today and chances are that you will be disappointed. The average teacher is content with superficial, textbook knowledge. It is unlikely that an average teacher would inspire students to delve more deeply than a superficial level.
For our purposes, an expert is someone who knows a little more about a topic than most other people. It is the responsibility of teachers to be experts in comparison with their students.
The more successful teachers are authorities on the subjects they teach, having much more than a superficial interest. They understand wholeheartedly that the subject is relevant to their lives.
Expertise leads to personal success. Experts exude confidence in themselves and confidence in their knowledge. They are more likely to teach with passion. They are better equipped to impart meaning and relevance to their students. Students, in turn, are more likely to take more than a superficial interest in what they are taught by an expert.
Know Thyself — Be True to Yourself
At a personal level, knowing who you are as an individual provides you the foundation for your own personal success. Self-knowledge is key to self-esteem and confidence. The better you know yourself, the closer you come to achieving your goals. Personal self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence, and personal success give you credibility to guide students to reach their goals.
What has self-knowledge to do with teaching? By knowing what motivates you, you have some insight into what motivates other people, specifically the people you teach. Realizing your own capabilities and limitations gives you greater understanding of the capabilities and limitations of your students. Most importantly, understanding how and why you learned things provides you the most powerful tools for teaching others how to learn the same things.
Personal development begins with the teachers.
The more successful person is always seeking to improve. Whether by improving specific skills or by broadening their knowledge, high achievers are constantly trying to do better and be better persons.
Teachers are in the personal development industry by definition. Celebrity motivational speakers barely scratch the surface of any life. A teacher is directly involved with students on a daily basis, providing a role for students to model. By definition, teachers are amongst the most crucial influences in the development of their students.
A successful teacher, like any successful person, is constantly involved in their own self-improvement. In addition to staying up-to-date on their subjects, it is important for teachers to optimize their personal lives, including health, relationships, finances, and achievement.
While your personal life is not a topic for classroom discussion, it can be either a boon or an obstacle to effective teaching. When you are continually on a path of self-improvement, increasing your own potential for success gives you the capacity to guide students in developing their potentials.
Successful Person, Successful Teacher
Teachers are role models. This is a given. The person that students see and look up to as a teacher impacts their lives significantly. People who have been successful in life make the most ideal models. People who have successfully attained personal goals are the most ideal candidates to teach others to reach their goals.
The goals of teaching and education are greatly enhanced by teachers who have proficient knowledge of their subject matter, a healthy knowledge of themselves, and a regimen for constant self-improvement and success.
Successful teaching is a high priority topic today. Your input is greatly appreciated. Please comment below. Subscribe to “Active Minds”