10 Things Teachers Should Never Do

All people make mistakes. Teachers are no different. Here are some teaching mistakes I've made and learned from or have seen other teachers make.

  1. Punish the whole class for the mistakes of a few:  It may seem like the entire class was acting up, but that is rarely the case. Punishing the whole class will cause you to lose the support of the students who were making good choices and likely won’t eliminate future misbehavior.
  2. Avoid getting help when it's needed: Most teachers don’t have a perfect classroom, and if they do it certainly didn't get there immediately and without work. If you sense a problem area in your classroom and don’t know how to fix it, ask for help. Have a conversation. Other teachers and administrators can observe your class and offer suggestions for improvement. 
  3. Assign a project prior to creating the rubric: Trust me on this. Your students won’t learn what they should, and it’ll be a grading nightmare.
  4. Plan a lesson that isn’t aligned to the learning objective: When planning, always keep in mind what you want the students to understand or be able to do by the end of the lesson. It can be easy to get lost in planning a fun and engaging lesson, but if it’s not meeting the objective then your students won’t benefit from it like they should.
  5. Grade every assignment: You’ll drive yourself crazy. Choose only the most important assignments to grade. I learned to aim for two or three assignments per week.
  6. Delay or skip parent/guardian contact: It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to have certain conversations. Calling a student’s home about misbehavior or an unfortunate event isn’t the most fun thing ever. However, parents and guardians need to know what’s going on with their child. They are usually a huge asset and can offer helpful insight and work with you to reduce and eliminate problems. (And be sure to call about the good stuff, too.)
  7. Not making time for themselves: You’re a person with a life outside of teaching. There will always be things you need to do as a teacher, but you have to take care of yourself. Make time to do the things you love and spend time with your friends and family.
  8. Not having a backup plan: Sometimes your lesson will run short. Sometimes students will find concepts easy and speed on through. Class time is limited and precious, so always have some sort of backup plan to enhance the lesson or build a positive learning environment.
  9. Be inconsistent with rules and consequences: Letting rules slip and allowing students to get away with misbehavior is all too easy to do. It only takes a few times of doing this to completely sabotage your classroom management plan. You’ll save yourself from lots of frustration by enforcing the class rules and consequences every time with every student. (Need ideas for effective classroom rules and consequences?)
  10. Not being open to learning new things: Find new strategies. Try new teaching methods. Read up on best practices. Observe other teachers and learn from them. Strive to be the best teacher you can be for your students.
What are some other things teachers should never do? Add your ideas in the comments section. 

Read the 10 Things the Best Teachers Do.

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10 Things the Best Teachers Do

When I think about the qualities of the most effective teachers I know, either from my own education or from colleagues I've had the pleasure of working with, these are ten things they all have in common.
  1. Be fair and consistent
  2. Communicate regularly with parents and guardians
  3. Have rules and enforce them
  4. Differentiate to meet the needs of all students
  5. Care
  6. Make the most of every class period
  7. Be willing to learn from others and try new teaching strategies
  8. Have a routine that students can count on
  9. Connect learning to real life
  10. Make time for themselves

What are some other things the best teachers do? Add your ideas to the comments section.

Read the 10 Things Teachers Should Never Do.

Are you a middle school science teacher? Sign up for my newsletter! You'll get a free science resource just for joining.