Imagine if you played a computer game for 1,000 hours or practised playing the piano for 62 days straight and only took breaks to sleep. You’d improve quite a bit wouldn’t you! Your development would certainly be noticeable and measurable.
This year, if you’re a classroom educator, you will complete approximately 1,000 hours of teaching practice. How much better will you be at the end of the year? Will your development be noticeable and measurable? Are you a significantly better teacher than you were this time last year?
Here are four of the most critical variables that research has identified will determine your development:
- Your motivation and attention. How much do you want to improve? How much are you focussing on becoming even better as an educator?
- Focus on specific ‘micro-skills’. What precise, targeted skill are you specifically working on? Teaching consists of hundreds of different skills. Pick one. Start there.
- Your willingness to seek and respond to feedback from a mentor or coach. Do you have someone you admire, someone more skilled than you who can critically analyse your skill and guide your growth.
- Repetition. How many forehands do you think Roger Federer hits each day? Work out how you can practise and practise the skill you are developing until you master it. Then move on.
Those factors don’t just predict teacher development, by the way. If you’re a lawyer or a chef or a police officer, the same fundamentals apply.
Wouldn’t it be cool to look back in January, 2020 and think, “Wow, I really am 1,000 hours better!”