10 Decision-Making Tips for School Teachers

June 5, 2023

By Nick Kovalcik & Danielle Miller

As a school teacher, you face countless daily decisions that can impact your student’s learning and success. Making good decisions requires knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills. Here are ten decision-making tips to help you make the best decisions for your students: 

1. Consider Your Values

Your values should guide your decision-making process. Consider what’s most important to you as a teacher, such as creating a safe and inclusive classroom environment, promoting student growth, or fostering a love of learning. Teachers make countless decisions that directly impact their students’ learning and well-being. Considering their values allows teachers to adopt a student-centered approach, where they prioritize the best interests and needs of their students. Values such as fairness, compassion, and respect guide teachers in making decisions that support students’ growth, development, and overall success.

2. Define The Problem

Clearly define the problem or issue you’re addressing. This can help you focus your decision-making process and find the best solution. Teachers’ involvement in defining the problem during decision-making ensures that the decisions are contextually relevant, student-centered, aligned with learning objectives, and based on collaborative efforts. This approach increases the likelihood of making effective decisions that positively impact student learning and achievement.

Watch here as Erin Murray from the University of Connecticut discusses how simulations help her students make difficult decisions in a safe space: https://youtube.com/shorts/iCIADLEIgAU

3. Gather Information

Gather as much information as possible to inform your decision. This could include data, research studies, or feedback from colleagues, students, or parents. Gathering information empowers teachers to make well-informed decisions, supports a student-centered approach, helps identify challenges and opportunities, fosters collaboration and professional growth, and facilitates effective monitoring and evaluation of student progress. It is a vital process that enhances teaching effectiveness and promotes positive educational outcomes.

4. Evaluate Options

Consider multiple options and weigh their pros and cons. This can help you make a more informed decision considering different perspectives and potential outcomes. Evaluating options when making decisions allows school teachers to consider student needs, teaching effectiveness, resource allocation, problem-solving, and continuous improvement. By thoughtfully evaluating alternatives, teachers can make informed decisions that foster effective learning environments and promote the academic and personal growth of their students.

5. Consider The Long-Term Impact

Consider the long-term impact on your student’s learning and development when making decisions. Think about how your decision will affect their future success. Considering the long-term impact when making decisions allows teachers to provide a comprehensive education that supports students’ development, equips them with essential skills and knowledge, and prepares them for future success in an ever-changing world.

6. Involve Others

Seek input and feedback from others, such as colleagues, students, or parents. This can help you gain different perspectives and consider new ideas. Involving others in decision-making allows for more comprehensive, inclusive, and effective decision-making processes in schools. It promotes collaboration, creativity, and shared ownership, leading to better outcomes for students, teachers, and the school community as a whole.

7. Use Evidence-Based Practices

When possible, use evidence-based practices that have been proven effective in promoting student learning and success. Using evidence-based practices in decision-making enables teachers to make informed choices that are backed by research and have proven effectiveness. It enhances student learning outcomes, promotes efficiency and effectiveness, supports differentiated instruction, fosters professional growth, ensures accountability, and upholds the ethical responsibility of educators.

Watch here as Dr. Trent Grundmeyer from Drake University discusses research on simulations in education: https://youtu.be/8W8-mEp3F1E

8. Be Willing To Adapt

Be ready to adjust your decision if it’s not working. This may require revisiting your original problem definition and gathering new information to make a better decision. Willing to adapt is crucial for teachers as it empowers them to meet the diverse needs of their students, incorporate educational advancements, respond to changing dynamics, keep pace with societal changes, and foster collaboration. It enables them to provide the best possible education and support for their students, preparing them for a successful future.

9. Reflect On Your Decision-Making Process

Reflect on your decision-making process to learn from your successes and mistakes. This can help you improve your decision-making skills in the future. Reflecting on decision-making empowers teachers to continuously improve their practices, prioritize students’ needs, foster professional and personal growth, and engage in collaborative learning. It is an essential process for effective teaching and the ongoing development of educators.

Watch Here as Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda Discusses Reflecting on Decision-Making: https://youtu.be/-Inc4YD6AhQ

10. Consider Using Simulations

Simulations can be a powerful tool for teachers, allowing students to explore complex concepts hands-on and engagingly. Consider using simulations to enhance your student’s learning experience and engage them in critical thinking. Simulations offer a valuable tool for teachers to enhance their decision-making skills. They provide a realistic and interactive learning environment, promote active and reflective practice, support complex problem-solving, facilitate collaborative learning, encourage risk-free exploration, and prepare teachers for emergencies. By incorporating simulations into their professional development, teachers can become more effective decision-makers, benefiting both their own professional growth and the students they serve.

Watch here as Ken Spero, Founder & President of SchoolSims, Discusses How Simulations Build Life Long Learners: https://youtu.be/zhpziDeWqY4

Making good decisions as a teacher is a complex process that requires careful consideration of multiple factors. By considering your values, defining the problem, gathering information, evaluating options, assessing the long-term impact, involving others, using evidence-based practices, being willing to adapt, reflecting on your decision-making process, and considering using simulations, you can make informed decisions to promote student learning and success.

SchoolSims provides a valuable platform for school teachers to practice and refine their decision-making skills in a realistic and risk-free environment. By engaging in active learning, receiving feedback, and reflecting on their choices, teachers can enhance their abilities to make effective decisions in the classroom, leading to improved student outcomes and a more fulfilling teaching experience.

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