Strengths and Weaknesses


Looking back over the times that I taught to my peers, as well as to seventh grade students, and in reviewing films of when I taught, I have noticed that I have some strong and weak areas in my teaching.  The following is a list of what I have determined to be my five strongest and five weakest points.

First, I have listed my strong points. After all, one should always look for the positive first.

1. I know my subject area pretty well.  Of course, I am not perfect, but in each lesson that I taught, I had a good grasp of what I was teaching, and, therefore, could explain it well.  This knowledge also assisted me in answering questions that the student's had.

2. I can get down to the students level and teach them in ways that they can understand more easily.  Almost anybody can stand in front of a group of people and recite definitions to explain things.  I tried not to do this.  In each lesson that I taught, I tried to present the material in a way that would be familiar to the students.  For instance, in a lesson I did on idioms, I quoted such modern idioms as “off the chain,” and “tight.”  Using things students are more familiar with helps them relate to the subject.

3. I am creative in my lesson presentations.  Neither my lessons, nor my ideas are very consistent with traditional teaching methods.  I taught a lesson on grammar, using a game created from a combination of Survivor and Family Feud.  In a sequence of lessons on adolescent literature, I required students to draw pictures of each chapter rather than summarizing it.  These ideas may not be totally original, but at least they are not dittos.

4. I am relaxed as a teacher.  I felt comfortable teaching all of my lessons.  I did not shout orders or force unnecessary work.  I “shot the bull” with the students about what I was teaching.  In essence, I was not lecturing to them, I was talking with them.  After realizing that I was open, and that they were allowed to talk to me, the students felt more at ease and could better concentrate on the task at hand.

5. I have a good attitude about what I am doing.  Too many teachers seem to hate everything they do.  They act as if they would rather be anywhere else, or doing anything else than sitting in a classroom with a bunch of smart-mouthed kids. My students knew that I cared about their learning because I showed that I cared about being there.  I had a good attitude about my lesson, the students, and school in general.  Enthusiasm can be contagious if the enthusiastic person is willing to share his/her enthusiasm with other people.  

The above are the five strongest points that I have as a teacher. The following are my weakest points.

1. I stutter.  I can be so self-conscious about the way I speak that I often stutter.  In trying to make sure that all of my sentences are grammatically correct, I often have long delays between sentences, and even between words in a sentence.  I cannot get them out. This bothers me, and I know that it is disrupting to the students.  I know I would probably be disrupted if my English teacher could not say what he wanted to say without stuttering.

2. I am uneasy about answering questions.  Earlier, I wrote that I know my subject area pretty well.  I do.  However, when someone asks me a question that I am unprepared for, I get nervous about giving the incorrect answer.  Though I know I am pretty sure that what I have to say is correct, I still have that eerie feeling that I may permanently impress something wrong into a student’s head.  I do not want to do that.

3. I sometimes try to be too nice.  I have not yet developed that fine line around discipline.  Oh sure, I can tell folks to be quiet, but if a real discipline problem occurred, I’m not sure I know how I would handle it.  Believe me, it would be taken care of quickly. However, at this time, my lack of experience prevents me from knowing exactly what I would do.

4. I mumble. When I finally figure out that I should just speak to the students rather than trying to talk how I write, I mumble.  I do not do it intentionally, nor do I do it a lot.  Many times at the end of sentences, I’ll relax my voice, and the words seem to run together.  I do not know why I do this, but I do.

5. I can be impatient. Even though I always thought that I would have a sure fire way to explain something in which every student would immediately grasp what I was getting at, I often had to find alternative explanations for certain students.  Sometimes, it took a while to make sure that everyone understood what I was talking about.  Though I never showed my anxiety to the students, inside, I could not help wondering what was taking these kids so long to get this.  I realize that all students may not learn in the same ways.  I’ll have to be more patient to find ways to help each child when individual assistance is needed.  

So there you have five of my strengths and five of my weaknesses.  Of course, I have more of each, but these are the ones that I noticed in particular.  I believe that my strengths are good ones, but they could, as anything else, be improved upon.  I am working on my speaking, which is where a couple of my weaknesses are.  Others are in classroom situations that can be bettered by experience.  As a teacher, my goal is to build on the strengths that I have, and to work to reduce the weaknesses.  I know I can do it.