Fear-Based Teaching

If you:

1. Don’t understand your students’ way, so insist they use your way

2. Never accept ‘I don’t know/understand’ as an acceptable response

3. Finish your students’ sentences for them

4. Tell them whether or not they’re correct, either verbally or in the form of tests

5. Don’t receive feedback from them on a regular basis

6. Answer your own questions

7. Answer their questions instead of allowing them to answer them for each other/themselves

8. Think mistakes, confusion or struggling have no place in your classroom,

Then I bet you were a really good student, but you are a really crap teacher. 

Ya, I said it. I’m sorry.

But I’m not that sorry.

I am sorry because I know that classrooms go smoothly when you do the above. I am sorry because I know that these make teaching easier, and teaching is the hardest effing job on the face of the planet, hands down.

You know you are a fear-based teacher if you find yourself doing all of the thinking in the classroom. Why, though?!  You already graduated! It’s their turn now.

So what should you dare to do?

Before each lesson, know your big takeaway. What One Thing do you want them talking about, when they leave you?

Study your own practice more, stay up-to-date on academic research and try doing the work you assign before you assign it.

And then… get ready, because after all that studying and research, you will need to be willing to throw the whole plan out the window. Have the guts to really listen to your students and make sense of what you are hearing. You are otherwise just one more barrier keeping them from achieving their dreams.

Remember, your students are seeing something for the first time. You can teach until you are blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean they are learning, and learning takes time. ‘Wait!’ You say, ‘They’re seeing this (dividing fractions/long division/slope) for the 2,800th time. They just never get it’. And that, educators, is your first data point, and all the justification you will ever need to try something else tomorrow.