Recently, I have done many posts about relationship building. Last week, my fourth grade team and I went out to Top Golf and had a great time. Forming relationships with people is important. Notice I said people, not just adults or just children. People matter! Dr. Seuss said it best, "A person's a person, no matter how small." When I talk about building relationships that also goes for students too.
I have had a few people come up to me this week and say while I can be really hard on the students, they respect me and they do as I tell them. I was asked, "How do I get the students to respond well to me like they do you?" Honestly, I think it is because of the relationships I have forged. While I can be (and am) really stern, I can also have fun with them. More than that, it is getting a chance to sit down and talk with them. When I say sit down and talk with them, SHUT UP AND LET THE STUDENT TALK! You just need to LISTEN. Respond every so often so they know you are paying attention. It is a matter of stepping outside your comfort zone. It is a matter of recognizing that you will not like every single person that comes your way; HOWEVER, YOU BETTER BE THE BEST ACTOR and show that you still care about their ultimate goal...LEARNING!
I say this because at the end of the day, students do not remember everything you taught them, but they do remember how you make them feel. My students know that from day one, "I am not your friend, I am your teacher. My job is to teach and your job is to learn. I am here though if you need to talk to me about anything." Students can also tell when you are passionate about them learning and you can tap into their learning styles. That is key. It is also difficult to do with nearly 30 kids in a classroom; however, when you signed up for this job, YOU DID NOT SIGN UP FOR EASY!
Here in Georgia, many, if not all, districts use a teacher evaluation tool called Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (also known as TKES). As one part of our evaluation system, we are rated on ten standards. Two that stand out to me include Positive Learning Environment and Professional Knowledge. These two things are imperative in order for students to truly learn. People want to know you care about them, especially when you work with them. Yesterday, I was working with new teachers and I could not help think about this idea even more. We ended with the TED Talk by Rita Pierson entitled Every Kid Needs a Champion. I have seen that video numerous times in the past; however, it is something that I needed to hear again. It reminded me of how strong relationships are important, especially with students so they can learn. I am going to end with, Every Kid Needs a Champion! How are you going to be a champion for your student? I know for me, it starts with a relationship! Build that relationship, then work on instruction for you can't have the later without the first. More importantly, relationship building does not just stop after the first week of school or month of school. It occurs all year long!