We all have those teachers we remember, the ones that bring a smile to our face, and those that do not cultivate a sense of fond memories. I was fortunate to have a variety of stellar teachers, Miss Simpson, Mr. Haase, Mr. Persky, Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Norkus, and Mr. Babbitt. There were others, but these stand out in my mind right now. I also remember the ones that created an environment that students did not really enjoy. My brother had a teacher when he was in second grade that upset him so much that had horrible stomach aches. My mom took him to the doctor, and the doctor finally determined the major problem with my brother’s stomach happened on Sunday nights, the doctor suggested that it might be something related to school. Now, this was over 40 years ago and my parents were in full support of the teachers and anything related to school. My parents never complained or caused issues in anyway, they were very supportive parents for the school. So, my mom did not really want to go into the school and talk about this situation, I can only imagine how difficult this was on my mom, she was a positive person and my feeling is she was a little anxious going into that room to talk to the teacher. My mom scheduled a time, walked in, sat down and started to share the story of my brother and what the doctor suggested, the teacher quickly interrupted my mom and very sternly said, “Well, IT’S NOT ME, it must be some of the kids”. The teacher’s demeanor and tone made mom nervous and uncomfortable. My mom knew at that moment exactly what was bothering my brother, it was in fact the teacher. My brother made it through second grade and moved on to have some amazing educators in his life.
Think back on your favorite teacher..
- What was their name?
- What did you like about this person?
- Why were they your favorite teacher?
Recently, at a professional learning summit, we asked participants to list three words about their favorite teacher and their least favorite teacher. Over 200 educators participated in the activity. Some of the words that stood out for the favorite teacher were, kind, fun, cared, excited love, and engaged.
The key words for the least favorite were mean, bored, grumpy, cold and dull.
What words would you list for your favorite/least favorite teacher?
What words would your children list for their favorite/least teacher?
What words would your students list for their favorite/least teacher?
Teachers are giving people, we want to have good relationships with students. Some teachers have use these techniques that promote connections and a positive classroom:
- Smile around students – it makes students happy when you are happy.
- Say no to sarcasm – be respectful, it helps students be respectful.
- Greet students each day – students like being welcomed and some of students don’t have anyone greeting them in the morning but you.
- Be present – listen to students, engage in conversation, it makes students feel valued when you listen to them.
- Challenge students – students have a desire to learn, teach them new content and what to do.
- Expect things – hold students accountable and create a safe for all.
- Be passionate – when students see you love teaching and learning, they enjoy learning more.
- Admit mistakes – everyone makes mistakes, it makes you seem real when you admit the fact that you are human.
- Creative – please don’t just lecture, students need to move and talk or their brains shut down during the day.
- Know students – make an effort to know students and their interests.
Please remember as the holidays inch closer, some students experience anxiety at the thought of being home for two weeks without any structure. You determine your classroom space and tone, make it one that counts, make it one where students can’t wait to get back in there after break.