In addition to the content lessons I teach, I want my students to also learn lessons they can apply to their daily lives. As they leave high school, they will face challenges in the workforce that will require the use of many skills. As I reflect upon these words, however, I realize that these skills apply to me and other educators as well. Continue reading for what I call the "three Ps to success."
Planning is a critical skill for success as a student, but also vitally critical for the teacher. Students need to understand the importance of setting attainable goals and maintaining basic organizational skills. Some students are natural planners and organizers while others need additional assistance and encouragement. No matter what job our students will apply for or obtain, planning will be involved at some level.
Educators must have planning and organizational skills to be effective. Effective lessons that address the state standards require planning and research. Being organized saves time and allows you to focus on other things. Certain goals and objectives need to be set for our students, but we must set professional/teaching goals as well.
The second "P word" skill I work on with my students and myself is precision. Being precise is important in many ways. For instance, you must be specific and detailed enough in explaining your point of view. It is also important to be precise in forming judgments through observation and in stating these judgments. Students going into fields such as engineering, for instance, must learn the importance of being precise. As educators, we must be precise in our delivery of the material we present. Failing to be accurate or exact with our educational material could make us lose credibility with our students. When dealing with our students, accurate assessments of assignments are key to their grade and their progress in class. Understanding the importance of precision makes you a better teacher.
The third and final "P word" I want my students to master is professionalism. Our conduct should be an example to our students. In his 2009 NEA Education Votes article, "Elevating the Teaching Profession," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says, "The single biggest influence on student growth is the quality of the teacher standing in the front of the classroom." Professionalism should be at the center of what we do as educators. Our reactions to situations should be respectful. The way we dress and behave in school and out of school influences our students. Their best interest should be at the heart of every decision we make.
It is also very important that we pass the importance of professionalism on to our students. Employers are looking for employees who are loyal, trustworthy, and distinguished from the others. It is important that our students understand what it means to be professional. Professionals strive to excel at everything they do, not just stay at the status quo. If we want to be treated like professionals, we must start acting like professionals.
What other skills do you think our students should be taught in order to be successful?