By Andrea Camargo López
Indeed, no matter how much we try to stick to our old ways. In order to prepare students for the future of work and the world they will have to face once they graduate from school, we, as educators, must be willing to change and introduce new methods, strategies, and skills. Sticking to our ways is doing a disservice to the students. Also, it is most likely closing professional doors for us, not to mention that the new generations have very different ways of learning and communicating than we did. Therefore, to connect with them and make sure they engage with the content and reach their full potential, we must strive to make our classrooms feel like an extension of their community instead of alienating them with our old-fashioned methods.
Keep reading to find out the 5 skills all teachers need in 2022 that didn’t exist 10 years ago (not as we know them today).
Educational software has evolved at the speed of light in the past ten years, and with the introduction of AI and machine learning, it will continue to take giant steps into the future. It is time to allow yourself and your students to learn in a new and better way.
1. Understanding of Technology: We don’t mean that you must know how to create a PowerPoint presentation or have basic computer skills. There are many tools out there you should be using to ensure personalized learning experiences for each of your students. Have you tried Kahoot? About ClassDojo? Is your school using CanopyLAB’s AI-powered platform yet to facilitate social learning and engaging educational experiences? The options are endless. You have to educate yourself and jump on the edTech bandwagon. Educational software has evolved at the speed of light in the past ten years, and with the introduction of AI and machine learning, it will continue to take giant steps into the future. It is time to allow yourself and your students to learn in a new and better way.
The ability to adapt to new changes in pedagogy and strategies is one of the most critical skills you need as a teacher. Being able to adapt to different methodologies can help you find the one that is best suited to your class and your group.
2. Adaptability: In my early days as an educator (and I’m sure most of us have had similar experiences), the advice I received the most from seasoned teachers was to follow the syllabus that was already established and use the books and materials my colleagues used before me. What a terrible advice that was! And I’m sure they meant well and had my best interest in mind, but what about the students’ best interest? The ability to adapt to new changes in pedagogy and strategies is one of the most critical skills you need as a teacher. Being able to adapt to different methodologies can help you find the one that is best suited to your class and your group. Furthermore, embracing change and having the capacity to hit the ground running regardless of what life, school administrators, or parents throw at you can save you many headaches and the inevitable burnout resulting from a lack of variety and poor student engagement.
3. Leadership: Teachers are thought to be natural leaders, but our role (and that concept) is changing and evolving from a figure of power who has all the answers (I don’t think we ever were, and that’s ok!) to a facilitator. That’s why cultivating this skill is so important. It is easy to inspire respect when you are a figure like Professor McGonagall and even fear when you fall into the Snape category (please don’t!). However, a teacher who embraces a leadership role is there to guide the students and challenge them constantly. A leader is not afraid to encourage critical thinking and admit when they don’t have all the answers. Our role as teachers is evolving to a facilitator figure, someone who knows when to share knowledge and when to encourage kids to find out the answers for themselves. Embrace authentic leadership, and your classes will be opportunities for kids to feed their curiosity and reach their potential.
4. Creativity: To be a teacher, you have to be creative. However, to be a successful teacher nowadays, your creativity has to go above and beyond to allow you to think quickly on your feet and create engaging experiences that your students can relate to. This skill is vital in a world where attention spans are getting as short as a Tik-Tok video or an Instagram reel and where information is at the tip of everyone’s fingers. Don’t be afraid to embrace social media, videos, music, pop culture, movies, or whatever else your students feel identified with to make your lessons more attractive and entertaining. I’m not saying you should put the red clown nose on and dance around while teaching maths. I’m saying that you should always think outside the box and try to find new creative ways in which the students can relate to the content you are teaching.
Embracing diversity and inclusion means creating a safe space where every student, regardless of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or identity, feels welcomed.
5. Embrace diversity and inclusion: The world is not black and white. It has never been, but now more than ever, people are daring to live their truth and embrace who they are in all areas of life, and a successful teacher can embrace diversity and make sure everyone feels included in their classroom. Asking students their pronouns and making sure you address them the right way is a significant first step but let’s go beyond. Embracing diversity and inclusion means creating a safe space where every student, regardless of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or identity, feels welcomed. It means leading by example and ensuring bullying has no place in your classroom and that kids can feel confident to work in groups and share their opinions without the fear of being ostracized or excluded. To cultivate this skill, you must educate yourself on IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Social Justice) and practice it in your classroom.
Change can be scary when you are set in your ways, but there is no need to fear it. At CanopyLAB, we have created TeacherLAB, the largest free online learning community for teachers worldwide. Learn new skills, find answers to your questions, and meet other teachers who, much like you, are working every day to give their students the tools they need to thrive in their lives. Are there other skills you think educators should work on in 2022? Let’s continue the conversation in TeacherLAB!
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