Helping an Ineffective Teacher
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Hi, I am the music department head at an elementary school. I have a colleague who is unfortunately a very ineffective teacher. This person was hired prior to my coming into the school so I was not involved with their coming “on board.” “Bob” is very thorough in his planning and his reflecting of lessons but simply does not have the skills to engage the students that he teaches. It’s very disconcerting as Bob is a very delightful person and is an excellent musician in his own right. He simply does not show very good planning in getting his classes to be engaged (Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade). Consequently, his classroom management is an issue — I really do believe this comes from a lack of engaging lessons and planning.
How can I help my colleague without hurting him? This is my first administrative position and I’m having a tough time being close to this colleague yet also giving them what they need to become a better and more effective teacher. Can being an engaging teacher with engaging lessons be taught?
Any help anyone can lend is greatly appreciated.
If I understand your use of the term “engaged,” it seems that your colleague lacks positive classroom management skills. I suggest an informal meeting with him, and ask him to writedown on paper the areas in which he feels confident; then write down the areas in which he feels NOT confident.
Perhaps you could refer him to internet sources of published research on the topic. I found a lot of info from internet sources. I think getting him to reflect on what he IS confident, and then move to reflect on what he is NOT confident, may open the door to a mutual dialogue that will have positive benefits.
You also mentioned that you feel “Bob” doesn’t spend as much time as needed planning his lessons. Perhaps suggesting that he draw up and bring a thorough lesson plan to a discussion with you can be the start. Has he established routines and procedures with the help of his classes? Younger students thrive with predictable routines that let them be self- and group-monitoring, and can quickly become disruptive without this order in their classes. Best wishes in helping Bob to improve.
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