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Karen Lambert

Monash University Lecturer. Addicted and compassionate traveler,

If we accept the idea that awesome teachers know awesome stuff and awesome ways to teach it, then it should follow to ask: what is it that they know and do that’s different to what I know and do? In other words:

“How do I turn my knowledge, information, ideas and enthusiasm into a kickass class?”

The secret to running a kickass class

The secret for being a kickass teacher that presents kickass classes is to create changes in people. Your ultimate aim should be to get your students to shift emotionally and/or intellectually. Below I.TEACH.U 7 steps to do just that!

Let’s create a kickass class: the ITEACHU model

Warning: These extra ITEACHU Model tips may kick some serious learner butt!

INTENTION: In the planning stage a kickass teacher asks themselves, “Why am I doing this? What is my goal, aim or expected student learning outcome?” This kind of teacher continually returns to this place at every stage of the teaching and learning process.

THINK BIG: A kickass teacher sets really big learning goals (learning outcomes) and plans every class with purpose based upon these goals. This kind of teacher always sets high expectations for themselves and their learners and seeks to create change in people’s thinking.

EDUCATE: A kickass teacher thoroughly educates themselves about their learners and about the ways that they can be an even better kickass teacher. This kind of teacher is committed to a regular and ongoing program of personal and professional learning that helps them to continually push the boundaries of what they know and can do. A kickass teacher wants to be even better than they were today.

AUTHENTICITY: A kickass teacher has the courage to be themselves and to prepare their teaching and learning sessions from a place of genuineness and authenticity. This kind of teacher has an obvious passion and enthusiasm for what they do, they have authentic confidence, and a deep awareness of their teaching purpose as well as their students’ learning purposes.

CONTENT: A kickass teacher knows what they are talking about (and if they don’t know they admit it and find out the answers). This kind of teacher can synthesize dense or complex information into palatable and understandable chunks for a variety of audiences. They can also pull together obscure concepts or disparate methods and make them into cohesive bigger picture bits of information.

HOW TO: A kickass teacher understands and uses teaching and learning methods that link learning goals and outcomes to the content presented. They build their lessons coherently and logically using creative and student centered methods of teaching and learning. They also consider a variety of delivery styles to cater for the specific learning needs of their students.

YOU: A kickass teacher acknowledges that teaching is also about them. They are open to learn from others and to give generous feedback to their students. This generosity is a necessary kindness to yourself as well – because sometimes teaching is hard, and ultimately you should enjoy what you do and how you do it.

The secret: teaching is more of a performance than most people think

From my experience a whole lot of teachers think that they can just wing it on their ‘bad’ days, or that their content, skills or knowledge will speak for itself, or that now they are the ‘expert’ they can slack off a bit. That makes for a kind of arrogant approach to teaching and learning.

Truth is teaching is more of a performance than most people think. So you have to be on your game every single time – if you don’t then you may well be the one getting your ass kicked!