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More Effective Teaching

As a home educator, you have certain goals for your student to accomplish this year. You want your first grader to learn to read, your second grader to use the cursive alphabet, your third grader to master the multiplication facts. These are worthwhile achievements for your student. But do you have goals for yourself, goals that you strive to as you develop your skills as a teacher?

Think back to those you have learned from-parents, teachers, pastors. No doubt, some were more effective than others at influencing your life. You, as the teacher, are the most important ingredient in your student's education. For your student to have the best education, he needs not only excellent materials but also an outstanding teacher.

Dr. Bill Yost has been involved in education for more than thirty years. In his work, he has observed hundreds of teachers, noting their methods, attitudes, and results. The following six characteristics Dr. Yost finds common to successful teachers. Answer the questions below to find how you measure as a teacher.

Characteristic One: Enthusiasm Are you eager to approach all subjects? Do you enjoy teaching math and science as well as literature and history?

Does your student catch your excitement as you teach? Does he look at you, ask questions, volunteer ideas, smile?

Characteristic Two: Professionalism Do your tests and quizzes cover more than simple facts? Do they focus on important ideas you want your student to remember?

Do you faithfully record scores in your grade book? Are you assessing the lessons you taught, looking for ways to improve?

Characteristic Three: Preparation Do you consistently set aside time for reading the subject, choosing objectives, forming a plan, gathering materials, writing quizzes and tests, and praying? Are you more prepared for each lesson, experiment, or test than your student?

Characteristic Four: Variety Do you use hands-on activities, discussions, and other methods as well as lectures and reading assignments? Any field trips?

Is your home school classroom attractive and inviting? Do you change the posters and pictures often? Do you rearrange the furniture occasionally or study in different places?

Characteristic Five: Involvement Are you questioning, discussing, discovering, researching with your student in your lessons? Do you tend to be with him in his learning, rather than over him?

Is your student writing, speaking, or acting to demonstrate the skills and concepts you are teaching?

Characteristic Six: Growth Are you challenging your student to grow spiritually? Do you ask him to weigh what he reads against Scripture? Do you help him find the ideas that underlie statements and evaluate them?

Does your student see that your relationship with Christ is the most important thing in your life? Can he name examples of your choosing God's best over other, perhaps easier, routes?

If you answered yes to each question, praise the Lord for the grace that He gives you to glorify Him in your teaching. But don't be discouraged if you had some no answers. Now you know what goals to work toward as you teach this year. Jot down these six characteristics in your lesson plan book to help you keep on track throughout the year. Find verses and spiritual principles to go along with the characteristics you need to develop. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom. For God's glory and your student's good, strive to make all these elements characterize your teaching.

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