Image courtesy of nightmaremode.net
As a learning director of a private language institute, there is one question I ask myself over and over again every day: “Is what I’m doing right now the best thing I can be doing to help our students learn?”. It’s such a simple and obvious question, but I’ve found that we don’t ask it nearly enough.
I have tons of competing priorities every day. Often I have to make a choice between such things as supporting an upset teacher, helping a learner whose parents lost their book, cleaning up a classroom, or filing some paperwork every ten minutes. When all these issues constantly crop up at the same time, I just ask myself that simple question and make my choice.
This question doesn’t just focus on the students though, even though at first glance you might think that. It encompasses every choice and action throughout the day. Should I spend extra time planning my lesson or use that time to read a research article on teaching? Is complaining about my day making anyone else feel better about being here and will that in turn help the students in all of our classes? Is staying out for that one or two more beers going to affect the quality of my lessons tomorrow? Will going out of my way to welcome a new teacher have a positive effect on their teaching?
As a teacher, and especially as a manager, we affect the quality of learning at our school far more than just in making choices involved in lesson planning and delivery. Every choice we make at our school whether it affects other team members, the students, or even the cleanliness of the school all contribute to creating a quality learning environment for everyone. Often, even many of the choices we make away from our schools affect the quality of learning, too.
How do you prioritize your day? How do you make choices between all the competing demands on you? Do you always make the choices that benefit your students?