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Ask a Question (Background Research)
Many teachers share a similar opinion on the instinctual nature of education: “teaching is an art form”, “she was born to be a teacher”. Universities offer education programs to prepare educators for the workforce, yet students transfer out of the program after working with youth. Strictly based from here-say (therefore subject to opinion), some Ed students may complain that education programs simply discuss theory rather than practical in-class preparation (they only receive this in the practicum-portions). This is exasperated by “teacher burn-out”, a real issue afflicting teachers in the early years of their career. Not all prospective teachers drop or burn out, but enough for me to pose several questions: Why does burn-out occur? What is the cause? Is there a science to teaching that can avoid this, or just tips?

Hypothesis

I would like to approach it with the belief that the cause of drop/burn-out is personality and habitually-based… of course this invites us to address the question: what is the ideal personality of a positive educator? What are the top habits of a happy teacher? And to provide a solution to this, how does one make teaching a science? Is it possible with the emphasis on the diversity and art of teaching practice?

Data Collection and Analysis: Personality of an educator.
In Nine Characteristics of a Great Teacher, Maria Orlando addresses several tips to better serving your students. Amidst this article we see terms like mutual respect, establishing a sense of belonging, high expectations, and genuinely caring about students. All of these should be a given to any teacher, but the next steps include loving learning and the ability to shift gears.
From my perspective, desire to know and appreciate your students (flaws and strengths) lends itself to classroom management. Tyler Hester, addresses the number one point of loving your students as the basic requirement.

Data Collection and Analysis: Healthy habits of happy teachers
Driving question: What are some healthy habits of effective and happy teachers?

> Organization:
This can be achieved through a combination of organizing student and teacher work and resources. Student work can involves exemplars and displays in the classroom, combined with timely feedback. Teacher work and resources can be addressed by the idea of curation of content, which speaks to the collection and management of digital resources… extending beyond simply organizing bookmarks on internet explorer back in the day. The article also speaks to the type of information gatherer to avoid and be: collect, sift through what’s important, and then share what is important.

Side note: This particular educator has historically been guilty of being a Scrooge and Hoarder of content… to improve, simply put: be aware of and involved in your information and resource gathering process. Then, be aware of what you share.

The Hoarder: a curator who collects  everything indiscriminately, who doesn’t  organise their content, and doesn’t  share – this is really closer to simple aggregation than curation.

The Scrooge: one who, similarly hoards their information – although they may organise their collection, they don’t share either; one of the key purposes of educational content curation!” – Kay Oddone

> Embraces change/is open-minded:
Teachers need to be prepared to embrace the organized chaos. With a plan in mind that is able to adapt to change and an appreciation for student learning, this should come easy.

> Has standards:

A teacher has expectations and standards for the students and themselves (here we see an overlap with personality). Through blogging a teacher can achieve standards for themselves as well. Michael Drennan poses the idea: Students realise how high the bar of public domain writing is.” This should extend beyond the realm of public domain writing and into all of their learning. Conversely, teachers also know the bar they are capable of, what they can and can’t achieve within reason. Set standards for yourself and students.

> Gives 100%:

Be genuine – to revisit an old idea. But if you live the personalities and habits of healthy teachers, you likely are giving it 100%. Just remember the balance required of a happy life outside of the school. You are a teacher 100% of the time, a learner 100% of the time. Don’t let the weekend change you and practice what you preach in your classes. Hypocrisy isn’t a part of teaching and it isn’t a part of science.

Conclusion

Every teacher is different, but there are definite attributes that will make an individual more successful in this profession. Different personalities exist and are required within the school setting. This opens the door for opportunities in connected learning. This learning is not possible without it. If you aren’t practising all these habits and characteristics (taking into account this post oversimplifies them a bit), you may need to reflect on how you fit in the teaching profession. And yet, from the perspective of making teaching a science, so much of the content of this post is opinion-based, which isn’t necessarily scientific, so can it even be done – or is this truly a creative outlet or art-form? Is that what the the Education faculties strive for in future teacher preparation? Should they? Can they?

– Logan Petlak

Do you agree? What are your thoughts on this? Comment below!

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