Since this week our class has been talking about the importance of the teacher-student relationship, I thought this article would be interesting to read. You must have an account with ed.week.org, but it only takes a few minutes to sign up and from then on you can sign up for weekly newsletters about education, which may help you with this blog and this class.
1. Leave yourself reminders on your laptop.Although it seems impratical, sometimes it is hard for a teacher to remember important details about his or her students, and reminders are helpful. When a student tells you or you overhear that they are going through a hard time or plan on being very busy with an athletic team or extracurricular group during a particular week in the year, this is important to remember. It might help you to know that you have to work around these problems in order that he or she gets the support he or she needs to learn at an optimal level.
2. Never let students see you react inappropriately to a student’s comment.
This one was hard for me to really agree with–I understand not wanting to embarass a kid when his answer is wrong, but there is a difference between embarassing someone and correcting them. In fact, I think it is much more respectful to point out to a student when his or her ideas are wrong than to ignore it to “save” their feelings. Once they find out that you have done that, they will feel even more embarassed and wonder how many other times they’d been openly wrong and left uncorrected. However, I do understand the difference between “constructive criticism” and rudeness, which I’ve noticed some other teachers don’t.
3. Actually use the information you get from a first-day student survey.
I like the idea of this first-day survey. No one delves too deeply into academic material on the first day, anyway, so why not use this as a good time to learn a bit about your students? One thing I especially liked was the question centered on learning styles. In one my my language classes in high school, we always played academic games that usually highly favored extroverted, high-energy students. As someone who was extremely shy in high school, I absolutely loathed these activities, and I could tell that I wasn’t the only one. Valuing student feedback in order to design curriculum activities that truly utilize individual learning styles is a great tool for any teacher who wants to be effective.
4. Schedule “bonding” time.
As in any work place, there needs to be a friendliness and rapport between co-workers in order for good work to truly get accomplished. So it seems strange that in so many classrooms, where students will be spending a good chunk of their day with one adult, that it seems rare that these relationships are ever developed. Even though it can be hard to get close to a teacher only to have to move to a classroom the next year, it helps students academically to have that support. One thing I really liked was the “individual conferences” one middle school teacher I had held with students throughout the year. If we were working on a big assignment, she would take us to the library to use the computers to do our research and write out our essays. This was helpful to me, as I didn’t have a computer at home to write with. In that time, she would schedule 15 minute “conferences” with each student about the work they had done so far and also to chat with them about how they were doing in the class. It felt really validating to know that someone cared about my hard work on an individual level.
5. Learn all your students names as quickly as possible.
Prof. Mueller talked to us about this one. As someone who is terrible at memorizing names, I know this will be a challenge for me. However, I do believe it’s the most basic way of showing respect for your students and beginning a relationship with them.