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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Smile Your on Camera


I want to talk about what I think is one of the best ways to improve as an educator. It boils down to two words:


Or rather have someone videotape you teaching. Tape yourself in action for at least 10-20 minutes then sit down and watch it. You will be amazed at how much you learn! I have taped myself a few times this school year and~ though I think I have improved in some areas~ Ilearned things about myself I would have never seen without videotaping.

For instance~ I need to smile more! Sometimes~ I get so intense and focused it looks like I'm not having fun. I think I am it's just when I teach I try to be dialed in. My face~ however~ is not showing that I am enjoying myself~ which in turn~ helps the students feel better in class.

Also~ I move a lot--but I can do better getting around the room and in between the desks~ no doubt.

I first took this method of professional development seriouslyafter speaking with former National Teacher of the Year Jason Kramas. I asked him what he did to improve as a teacher. He said two things: he watched great teachers~ which expanded his idea of what was possible. Second~ he taped himself and watched the tapes. He also had veteran teachers watch the tapes the way a football coach would study films of the opposing team. Wow~ now that's taking professional development seriously.

You will see how smooth--or not--your transitions are. The videos will also reveal how you handle disruptions and distractions. You can also study how students respond to your words and lessons. And the list goes on.

So set up the tripod~ ask a colleague to help or do what I did: ask a parent volunteer to come in once a week and film a class. Then get some popcorn and prepare to learn a lot.