Name three strengths you have as an educator.
What a day for this prompt. Halfway through the day, I’m beginning to doubt whether I have any strengths as an educator. But okay, strengths…
- My ability to reflect. I think this has always been a strength for me, but in the last year or so I’ve been really developing it. I think it’s important to be able to look back at a lesson and recognize the things that went well or poorly. Figuring out the answers to some of those “went poorly” items is something I’m still working on.
- My ability build rapport with students is usually a strength for me. I think that, for the most part, my students are pretty comfortable with me. As a world language teacher, I couldn’t hope to get them to produce language with any confidence if they weren’t. However, this is also one of those areas where I occasionally blow it out of frustration. Like today. But that’s another story altogether. Overall, I would call this a strength, and would categorize my issues here as a separate weakness altogether (or maybe 2 or 3 weaknesses combined into a disaster) that plagues me both in and out of the classroom.
- I don’t know the exact word for this, but I think one of my strengths is the way I respond to student questions. I have seen some teachers who, when asked a question, simply give students the answer. I usually do this if it’s “How do you say ____ in Spanish?” and they haven’t been taught the word yet, but for other things, I rarely come right out with the answer. My goal is to teach students to think, not just ask questions. In a world where nearly every answer to nearly every question is literally at our fingertips, it can be hard to get students to think through a problem. But isn’t that the skill they need? I never realized what a “problem solver” I was until I was around other people who, when they don’t know how to do something and don’t know who to ask, simply don’t try. So instead of giving kids answers, I usually respond with another question, often “What do you think?” or “Do you remember when we talked about X?” or something that (I hope) will guide them to figuring out the answer for themselves.