Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Teachers Show Students They Matter

1.  Expect quality work that consistently moves students to a higher level.

2.  Offer feedback to what students say, write, request.  This human interaction reminds students they are worthy of a quality education because they are worthy of your time.

3. Know exactly why each assignment is given, each unit is taught.  Be able to explain it to every student, including the skeptic who assumes all your assignments are busywork, all of school is pointless.

4.  Welcome questions that encourage independent students; discourage questions that encourage needy students.

5.  Know when to nurture; know when to kick students out of the nest.

6.  Encourage students to think about their future--using both practical and fanciful methods to remind students to set goals that they envision themselves accomplishing in their wildest dreams as well as in their most practical moments of realism.

7.  Avoid imposing judgments because therein creates the expectations of success and failure that students feel subconsciously.  These judgments are the most insidiously harmful judgments because the negative ones taint the core of our students who internalize the message that they are not worthy or are not smart enough to "get it."  If they feel this way, they will not move forward in the classroom.

8.  Create boundaries of respect.  Feeling safe enough to experiment and share thoughts means students will feel safe enough to do the same outside the classroom and make our world a better place.

9.  Have faith that the next generation will find its way, as the generations behind us found their way.

10.  Constantly reflect on successes and failures we, as teachers, make in the classroom.  Ask before designing lessons, "What can my lesson do that will help students succeed?"  After a lesson has been completed, ask, "Did this assignment really get to the heart of what the students need or do I need to try something new?''  "Why did some students succeed?"  "Why did other students not understand?"  "What is the problem?"

11. Deal with issues that need correcting--from discipline to errors on work.  Students respect those who right wrongs.

12.  Learn to appreciate each and every personality, soul, child, learner in the classroom.  Modeling this sincerely will teach students to do the same to others.  All students want to find a place where they feel at home. Make your classroom that place.

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