By Teachers, For Teachers
What do great people in the teaching profession do differently than the rest? They know how to teach to their strengths. They know what they are strong in, and they make the most of their natural talents. They don’t dwell on what they need to work on, rather they maximize what they already know they are good at. Here we’ll take a closer look at how you can identify and discover what your strengths are in the teaching profession, so you are better able to utilize these talents and inspire young minds.
Most educators tend to focus on their weaknesses and what they need to work on rather than what they are already doing well. The problem with this is that when you put all of your focus on your weaknesses, you’re losing time doing what you’re naturally good at. These are things that you do well and do often. They are things that you keep coming back to. For example, one teacher may thrive at collaborating with their colleagues, while another may prefer to work alone.
The first step to discovering what you are naturally good at is to understand yourself. There are a few ways that you can do this. First, simply jot down all of the things that you think you are good at (listening to others, collaborating, being fair, having self-control). They are most likely things that you already know about yourself and often are the things that you go to first. Second, you can invite a colleague to come observe you and ask them what they think you are good at. They may observe that you’re a results-oriented person who focuses on the end-goal of the lesson, which may be something that you didn’t even realize about yourself. Or they may find that you thrive in a busy/loud classroom, which may also be something you were unaware of. Lastly, you can take a strengths quiz. You can find a more detailed one online or get a basic gist of your strengths below.
Are you creative? Persistent? Optimistic? Or results-oriented? Here we’ll take a closer look at a few of these character traits, as well as discuss how you can teach to each of them.
Are you a creative teacher who’s always thinking about what they are going to make or do next? If so, then use this character trait to your advantage in the classroom by having students take on creative projects. Help them explore their own creativity by giving them the opportunity to think outside of the box.
If you are a persistent teacher, then you are driven, and must always finish what you started. If this sounds like you, then you can model this wonderful character trait by giving students a challenging project or problem to solve. Show students how it’s essential to never give up and to always finish what you start even if it’s difficult.
An optimistic teacher always looks on the bright side of things. Even when things aren’t going as planned they are able to turn it around and look at the good side of it. Optimistic teachers can share their positivity by creating a learning environment where students can freely share stories or goals they have for themselves. They can teach them positive thinking strategies like how to visualize their progress.
A results-oriented teacher likes to focus on the end goal. Whether it’s the end of the lesson or the end of a unit or even the end of the school year, they like to get things done. They think in terms of what the end will look like, and how they can get there. They want results and will find the best and sometimes fastest way to get there. To utilize this character trait in your classroom, have students track their progress or goals. Give them a chart so they can track their progress as well as see their results.
Do you work best when you are on a team? If so, then you thrive in a collaborative atmosphere. Teachers who thrive when working with others can teach students how working with others has its benefits. Put students into cooperative learning groups where they must work together and rely on one another in order to complete a task.
You make a great effort to ensure that you treat each student the exact same regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender. You can use this wonderful teacher strength by drawing attention to what’s fair (in the classroom, school, and world) and what’s unfair. You can also take a moment to recognize the students when you see them acting out fairness. Helping students notice when they are acting fair will help them grow as a person.
The teacher strength of being flexible means you can easily go with the flow. You are able to change your plans in order to accommodate whatever situation that you may be in. Having the ability to adjust and respond to changing conditions is a strength that you can use in the classroom. You can utilize this character trait by teaching students how to go with the flow. Try bending the rules or tweaking your daily routine. When you do this, students will have to learn to cope with the change.
Are you a good disciplinarian? Do you thrive on organization and routine? If you said yes, then your teacher strength is structured. You know how you like things and never steer off the path. You have a routine, and always stick to it regardless of what’s going on. You can use this teacher strength in the classroom by sharing your wisdom with students. Write down how you want things done so the students can follow suit by themselves. By doing so, you are teaching students how to be more independent.
To recap, in order to maximize your strengths as an educator, you must first be able to know what you like and thrive in. Once you understand this, then you can utilize these talents in your classroom to better serve your students.
What are your teacher strengths? Do you have any that are not mentioned above? If so, how do you incorporate these traits into the teaching profession? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.