Working on my listening skills has probably been one of the best pieces of PD advice I have ever tried to take to heart.
The fact is, we teachers, we kinda come to class to talk. To impart. To flow outwardly. And in the chaos that is a teaching day, with hundreds of students coming at you from hundreds of angles at a hundred miles an hour seeking hundreds of answers (from “May I go to the bathroom?” to “Do you think Shakespeare really wrote all those plays?” to “Can I bring in the homework I didn’t do two days ago and was supposed to turn in today, tomorrow?”), it’s quite the challenge to remember that one of the best ways to ensure that you are going to be an effective educator comes through listening.
And it’s almost counterintuitive in a certain way.
I mean we lesson plan over the weekend to come rock the house on Monday morning but really, for all our concoctions, for all our data driven determinations, for all our plans and goals and aspirations, how much time do we actively plan to listen? To patiently wait? To reflect and then respond?
Really, does the VP ever storm into your room and demand that you absorb, consider, weigh, and not judge your students… but rather, see what they think, feel, care about and want to do, express, experience?
Do our kids not have much to teach us about how to teach them?
If there is one area I think I can always improve upon, both as a teacher — and a human being in a multitude of relationships (monogamous as one of them is… had to throw that in there, right Honey?) — it’s “How can I be a better listener?”