If you regard yourself as a 21st Century Professional Teacher, it is important to challenge many assumptions to ensure that your students are given the opportunity to learn all that they really need to learn, if they are to be prepared for the future. Perhaps a starting point is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I an innovator?
- Am I prepared to pioneer new possibilities and explore new ways of doing things?
- Do I actively grow my knowledge base and seek to develop my teaching philosophy and pedagogy?
- Am I able to apply my knowledge to unique situations?
- Do I have a commitment to what is best for my learners and their diverse, individual needs?
- Do I value collaboration and prioritize team work?
- Like my students, am I resilient, flexible and flexibility and have a good measure of humour?
- Am I a reflective practitioner, who asks for and values quality feedback?
- Am I a designer of lessons, learning and curriculum?
- Do I seek to grow my teaching tool kit, exploring and expanding my repertoire of teaching strategies?
- Do I prioritize differentiation, even though preparing a ‘one size fits all’ lesson is so much easier?
- Am I comfortable in my own shoes, to allow my learners to know more than me?
- Am I a risk taker, allowing my learners to have voice and agency?
- What if they told me that I could do better?
- Do I value assessment, so that I really understand the needs of each learner?
- Would I allow my students to personalise their goals and learning pathways?
- Am I a data analyst?
- Am I refining my digital literacy and use of learning technologies?
- Do I value professional inquiry, and my understanding of evidence based best practice?
- Am I generous in sharing my ideas, resources, skills and talents not just with the teacher in the classroom next door to me, but also with a global audience?
- Am I prepared to ‘go public’, to be transparent, open and accountable?
- Do I close my classroom door behind me, or do I share my classroom with parents, teachers and visitors?
- Do I believe in, and work towards respect, tolerance, equality and inclusion?
- Do I speak words of hope, forgiveness, belief and possibility?
- Is my work ‘child and learner centred’?
- When my work is tough, am I prepared to be the one who cares for my students, who shares a sandwich, makes breakfast for the child whose life is tough, make time to listen, be patient, coach, model high standards and personal dispositions and qualities, be kind and do what I can to ensure that my students have a happy childhood, thrive… and smile?
- Why am I a teacher?
Sometimes we have to answer some difficult questions. It’s a tough job, and a high calling, but don’t children deserve the very best in this very uncertain world that they are growing up in. Most of us have a very clear recollection of the impact that significant teachers had on their lives. Sadly, most of us remember the bad teachers as well as the best ones.
How will your students remember and speak of you?