What tools have helped you improve as a teacher?

teaching aids

What tools have helped you improve as a teacher?

The easiest free “tool” for improving your teaching permanently, right here, right now, and until the day you retire is: silence. Not their silence. YOUR silence.


Stop talking long enough for the student to actually finish writing down what you wrote on the board.


Stop talking long enough for the student to read the directions on the test paper.


Do this consistently, all day, every day. Provide enough “wait time” for students to write, to find a page, to copy an answer, or to locate materials. Give a pause for students to have think time. Stop talking long enough for the students to engage with one another. And just to be sure you’ve stayed quiet long enough, verify that you gave enough time, calling on individual students by name.


Even better, don’t ask. Circulate and see what number or page they’re on. Ask an individual, quietly, if he understood the directions. Don’t choose the “special ed” kid for this. Choose a kid who is either likely to be off task, likely to run behind the class or likely to run ahead.


The pauses give students time to breathe. We rush them too much sometimes and it causes more stress and confusion than we appreciate.


The pauses communicate respect from teacher to student and are one of the simplest ways to build trust. They tell your students you are there to work with them, not talk your way through a lesson plan.


Stop talking 2-3 minutes before class ends. Allow a pause for makeup work to be handed out, homework assignments to be written down, and bookbags to be stuffed. Your students appreciate it when you don’t let the bell catch them unprepared. Don’t make them sprint out the door with their papers flying. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s not. This too communicates respect and builds trust with about zero effort on your part.


Culled from Quora by Anne W Zahra


If you have other tools that you are using or have used in the past that really helped you improve as a teacher we will like you to share it with us.


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