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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Teaching is more than teaching



I am an introvert.  When I was a student I rarely said anything in my classes.  I was so quiet that some of my peers informed me that I would never be able to teach because I was too quiet.  Introverts are often misunderstood.  The funny thing is when I tell my students that I am quiet introvert they don't believe me!  In my role as a teacher I am outgoing and friendly and full of energy.

I've been thinking a lot about effective teaching and what makes certain teachers get hard work, respect, and loyalty from their students.  I feel it all comes down to one key element.  Master teachers build relationships with their students.  The best teachers do more than just teach...they inspire.  This can only be done when students are able to connect with their teachers.

When students feel a teacher cares about them, they will listen better, work harder, and behave better.  Students need to bond with their teachers....and I strongly believe teachers need to bond with their students.  We never know what students are going through - and just a few kind words....a little attention....a thoughtful question...just might positively transform that student's entire day.   Life is hard sometimes.  Last year I was going through some intense trials and it was hard for me to go to work and keep a smile on my face.  My students helped pull me through those hard times.  They never knew what I was going through....I never said anything about my personal struggles...but just the interaction with my students was enough to cheer me up and keep me going.

As mentioned, I am an introvert.  It's strange that I feel so comfortable speaking with my students...yet I'm totally opposite in 'real life.'   If I can build relationships with students...anyone can do it!  Here's how:

1.  Be less busy.  Make yourself available. Get to school early and be completely ready at least 15 minutes before the bell rings.  I like to have some fun, energetic music playing as students enter so they come in with a smile on their faces.  This gives you 15 minutes to interact with students as they enter your classroom.  Greet students as they come in.  Notice things about them and talk to them.  Students notice if you look and seem stressed and they will avoid you.  Be present and make the time to interact.



2.  Encourage sharing.  I often share an analogy or story to help capture the style of a piece of music.  Allow to students to share their own stories.  Find common ground.



3.  Play.  Everyone likes to have fun.  Sometimes we play games in my classes.  Instead of just being a supervisor...play with them!  They need to see you have fun.  It will help them relate to you.



I believe that building a positive working relationship with students is essential. It solves so many classroom issues.  Behavior issues begin to disappear.  Students become motivated and desire success.  The climate of the classroom becomes happy.  And best of all, the teacher will LOVE teaching even more and students will love the class even more.  Students often choose an elective class because of how the teacher makes them feel.  Large successful programs are built on positive teacher/student relationships - which creates the right climate for all of the hard work necessary for great performance.

Stepping off soapbox...happy teaching, everyone!

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