What’s the point?
Why should we actively work on improving how we teach? If we teach well and get results, why not settle for that?
Think of a teaching career as a series of plateaus. Plateaus pose problems because they produce negative emotions like envy and indifference. When we become stuck going through the motions, it is too easy to either feel insecure or not care at all. We become more apt to comparing ourselves to others in unrealistic ways or struggle to shake off drowsiness in our lives. We lose the initiative to change.
We should regularly aim at making one aspect of our teaching practice better. The occasional giant overhaul yields poorer results than consistent minor adjustments do.
The shift might not be in lesson delivery or behavior management. The answers might not come at a professional development seminar or during a graduate course.
It is the small, otherwise insignificant things that boost morale the best. Taking time to listen carefully to a student, apologizing when wrong, offering a genuine compliment to a colleague—those types of things enable us to make positive changes. They make us better all around and lift up others in the process.
I work at getting better for my students but also for my wife and children. A caring approach allows for them to benefit as well. It makes all the difference!