Play to Your Strengths When Teaching

A basic lesson in business classes is the SWOT analysis (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats). A SWOT analysis is frequently part of an entrepreneur’s early planning. The ‘strengths and weaknesses’ part of this device forces entrepreneurs to look internally, while the ‘opportunities and threats’ are external factors. The self-reflective internal piece can help the entrepreneur leverage his or her business’ strengths while working around or improving his or her business’ weaknesses.

If you think about all of the good teachers in your building (or in your own education) you may realize that they come in a variety of stripes: the intellectual teacher, the tough but fair teacher, the passionate teacher, the empathetic teacher, and I could go on and on. The intriguing thing is that while all of these teachers have different methods, they are all considered strong educators.

A million books and articles exist explaining the merits of some type of teacher, often wondering what a world would look like ‘if everyone would teach this way.’ Well, I have a slightly different take on this. I tend to believe that each of different type of ‘successful teachers’ has found a strategy that not only meets students’ needs, but also plays to their own strengths. In fact, I am not sure that a teacher can be successful if they are not leveraging his or her own strengths as much as possible.

To make educators more self-aware, I think that every teacher should build a personal SWOT analysis. We spend so much time worrying about our students strengths and weaknesses that we often forget to consider our own. So the next time you see a book about your hair being on fire or a what makes a good teacher article come across your Twitter PLN, stop and consider if said strategy plays to your strengths. If it does – awesome try it out, if it does not tip your hat to those it does work for and move on.

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