As teachers we are in a position where we can not under estimate the influence we have on the students we teach. Yes they are students, learners, children, but they are ultimately people! People with emotions, hopes, expectations and dreams, sometimes laced with fears and anxieties.
Giving learners choice to embrace passions, express emotions, make connections & share understandings in an environment that feels safe is the first step.
Empowering them express fears and anxieties, knowing they are supported and that will be there time and opportunity to work through each one.
These are the challenges we face while trying to meet learning outcome expectations, academic growth and keep parents, peer and administration happy.
Relationships underpin the level of success we have as teachers. The difference we make. Or NOT!
When we have taken time to build relationships with our students there is a 'feeling' a 'knowing'. I acknowledge that some students are 'easier' than others, but therein lays the challenge.
How connected are you to your students?
Do your students think you know them? Do you take time to 'talk' to them about there interests, what sport they play, their favourite foods? Do you notice when they have dark rings under their eyes, or are looking pale, when they have had a haircut or are clearly just not in a good head space when they arrive to school?
If you do notice; do you stop and check in - every time?
When a student wants to talk to you - do you make time for them?
None of this is easy, we all know that days get busy and timelines and deadlines must be met. I challenge myself on this all the time. Why am I meeting deadlines and planning and going to meetings if I don't know all my students well enough to know what their passions are or what interests them? To know if they think they are learning, if they have goals or expectations that involve needing support from me.
Building relationships with students and colleagues is powerful. It when real connections are made, when people value people, expectations become valued. The willingness to assume positive intent and build trust becomes second nature.
So by working to build relationships with depth and meaning we take learning deeper, students develop confidence and operate in an environment where there is 'at least on significant adult who can make a difference' everyday!
There is a reason why students connect with some teachers . . . are you one of those teachers?
Maybe now is the time to think about how to make the effort to change the dynamic in your class, which students do you know the least about?
As the teacher you can be the agent of change . . . you can lead the way . . . it will be worth the effort!
You are not too busy. You do not have to much to do. You do not have more to do than other teachers.
Be present, know your students, give them choice to embrace passions, express emotions, make connections & share understandings in an environment that feels safe.
Empower them to express fears and anxieties, knowing they are supported and that will be there time and opportunity to work through each one.