50 Targets for becoming an Exceptional Teacher

So I want to become a world-class maths teacher. These are 50 targets I am setting myself.

1. Unit planning first and then lesson planning to keep a track of the overarching goal
2. Planning lessons based on the objective and posting your objective in the simplest language
3. Shortest, simplest and easiest explanation is always the best
4. Allow sufficient time for independent practice, assess understanding and receive feedback, practice after practice, various formats
5. Minimise teacher talk time, don’t give a too-many-instructions based activity
6. Successful learning pushes more cognitive work on the student as soon as they are ready
7. Make the steps explicitly clear, i.e. success criteria
8. Unbundle, what’s the next step/process, why do we do this, explain your thinking
9. Always wait 3 seconds before taking an answer
10. Setting high standards for correctness
11. Getting students to respond to the answers of others, we are going to evaluate this answer
12. Normalise errors, not quite Tommy, that’s right Zoe, nice work. Praise work based on effort but not on right/wrong answers
13. Normalise cold calling to increase anticipation, participation and progress
14. Cold call and get all students to the right answer, even if it is to repeat the right answer provided by another student
15. Circulating and checking carefully a key question at various points to assess learning, ticking (students feel recognised), and addressing errors and misconceptions (when repeated addressing as a class)
16. Get a student to come up and actually show you what they have learnt that lesson and whether they can remember without assistance
17. Do Now, same place, same format, same routine, no ambiguity, finite list of equipment out as soon as they enter
18. Greet at the door, notice small things and make pupils feel valued and appreciated
19. Getting students from the door to their seats as effectively as possible, tight transitions between activities
20. Break the plane, where first student’s desk starts within 5 minutes, show you own the classroom and prove how efficient you are
21. Care enough to encourage students to be organised and teach them how to
22. Anything worth doing is worth doing well and right every time
23. Culture of excellence, in this class we do everything as well as we can, doing it again, doing it right, doing in better
24. Specific non-verbal signals without getting up, show fingers crossed without getting up to go to the toilet, hold nose for a tissue
25. 100% compliance is the standard, not the goal, for example, after a 3, 2, 1 and 0, wait for 100%, silence, concentration and looking this way
26. Respond non-verbally without interruption to teaching. Least invasive intervention is always best and don’t interrupt yourself
27. Anonymity, check yourself to ensure you are doing what’s asked
28. Positive group corrections, I am waiting for two people, you know who you are, and now one person, some people failed to push their chairs properly so let’s try that again
29. Private individual correction if it wasn’t affecting everyone’s learning, get close and use a voice that is quiet
30. Public corrections, limit the amount of time a student is onstage, state what you want them to do, e.g. Arman, I need your eyes this way, and end with a positive, e.g. well, that’s much better
31. If you need to give a consequence, ensure instruction is not interrupted
32. Don’t delay a consequence as it loses significance and use a consequence in a kind and logical manner
33. Show you expected and deal with it calmly, control your emotions and let them know you are always under control
34. Allow some props but make corrections immediately and tell them how to do it better
35. Public praise, be consistent, make them quick, two-claps for Jaydon, let’s do it again but faster
36. Explain that compliance is necessary so you have the best chance to succeed in learning, I need everybody’s eyes so we can begin learning
37. Fewer words speak much, don’t talk over, don’t engage in other topics when you have set to talk about one topic
38. Don’t engage when a student is giving an excuse about their behaviour, get them to act first and talk later
39. Show with your body that you are committed to each request, turn your feet and shoulders, even if you have to wait
40. Don’t give verbal warnings before consequences as others will think some levels will be tolerated (but follow behaviour policy)
41. Don’t talk about what cannot be fixed, but what they need to do next
42. Quiet power, maintain voice, calmness, poise and confidence, class needs to know that an action is taken when poor behaviour is seen by others
43. Don’t do two things at once, ask one thing, wait for everyone to begin to show you’re serious
44. You must stress the small stuff, i.e. rows aligned, chairs tucked in, so the big stuff doesn’t materialise
45. Praise publicly when high standards were seen and deserves recognition, don’t praise basic requirements
46. Be specific with praise, I’ve noticed you have done this and it’s making you do really well in this area of maths
47. Be warm but strict, having high expectations is part of caring for them
48. Allow genuine versions of joy to shine through
49. If you treat students with respect and kindness, and listen to them, they will respect and love you as a teacher
50. Teaching is a work of the heart

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