We like our students to be quiet so they can listen to the lesson, directions, or whatever else we need to communicate to them. It is important as teachers that we give the same respect to our students. When they speak, it is good not only to listen, but to empathize with them. I know as an educator I am always tempted to offer solutions immediately. If we ask more questions and seek to further understand our students, we will be more effective at fostering a positive learning environment, and promoting independence. Which brings us to our next letter:
U, Understanding Toward Others:
So often we are exhausted with data collection, preparing for tests, lesson-planning, sitting in meetings, and other frustrating things that come with the job. It’s difficult sometimes not to be annoyed by some of the behaviors we encounter in the classroom. It is good to remember, as we want students to be understanding toward one-another, we should model understanding toward our students. For example, when you feel yourself getting heated at something a student is doing, take a deep, heavy breath and try to understand the student’s point of view. Are they bored, confused, frustrated, embarrassed, angry, or do they just want a little extra attention. The more we seek to understand our students, the better we will be at helping them learn.
We can’t always be superheroes, but being awesome in our classrooms creates a positive learning environment for the students. We want them to try their best, “achieve their potential,” work to constantly improve. It’s only fair that we do the same. There are many ways to do this. There are all those great mandatory trainings we have to attend. Also, there are a TON of great online resources with innovative ideas for the classroom. Edutopia and Mindshift are a couple really great ones! Most importantly, we want to always be striving in our classrooms, finding better ways to teach, understand, and foster lifetime learning.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above paragraph. The more we learn, the better we understand. The better we understand, the more effectively we can teach. We can learn more about the subject matter we’re teaching by exploring current research. We can learn more about how students learn in order to reach our students on multiple levels. We can learn about new tools to use in the classroom that will maximize learning and retention.
I, We are all Important:
As you can see in this picture, we are important in the way we teach students, and we are important in the way we influence students. Many of our students value our opinion, and look to us as a source of encouragement. We are with them almost one-third of the day. For some of our students, we may be the only positive adult in their lives. The takeaway here is, you are important. Whether you’re having a good day or bad, feeling under-appreciated, underpaid, or undervalued, remember you are important. We are all important parts of a…