My three week block is just around the corner and as I sit here trying to figure out what I want to share with you, the only obvious thing that seems to be popping up are the 3 simple ” life lessons” that I’ve learned.
When I say “Life Lessons”, I don’t mean things like being an organized teacher, being flexible, ect., ect. What I’m referring to are the little things I can do in my life when I am in the classroom – the little things that I want to do every day to make my day and my students day that much better. I don’t think these things would have clicked to me if I wasn’t made aware of them by Cooperating Teacher in my previous pre-internship. I didn’t know that I was unconsciously already doing these 3 things, but once I was made aware of it, I decided that I would forever do these 3 priorities. I’m happy that I am able to put these elements into practice so early on in my career and I wish to share them with you as well.
My Cooperating Teacher made an interesting comment to me and it has stuck with me ever since. He said, ” you will have students who will be great in your classroom, only if you will be great in your classroom as well.” What does that mean to you?
Here are the three elements in my classroom that I wish to share with you:
Laugh at your mistakes! You are human for goodness sakes and so are your students. Invite your students to laugh at their mistakes and to learn from them and move on. They say laughter is the best medicine for anything. I believe it. What teachers do you remember from your schooling days? I’m sure we all can remember that one grouchy teacher who just made our lives miserable all the time. I think my favorite teachers though were the warm, caring teachers – the teachers who loved life, loved teaching, knew how and when to have fun and were just overall pleasant to be around.
When I see catch myself doing this, I automatically think back to my grade seven teacher, Mr. Pittman who literally would turn red in the face from laughing so hard at himself or at a situations. I can’t always remember why he would be dying of laugher, but I know his love for life was so infectious and contagious to use normally cynical, hormonal seventh grade students. I know that he wasn’t laughing at the expense of other students in our class. He laughed with us.
2) Learn. Learn. Learn.
Although your students are here to learn, you are the BIGGEST learner in your class – you are the one learning ever day. There is nothing wrong with allowing your students to witness you learning. There is no harm in saying “Good question! I don’t know the answer to that”, or “Let’s find out together!”, and even “I want to share something I learned today with you”. Say it often, because although you are masters of your trade, you will NEVER know everything there is to know. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything you collect in your first 5 years to teaching is all that you will learn and then use that for the rest of your career. I strongly believe that you are doing a service to your students and your profession when you become a lifelong learner who is always trying to better themselves and to build an understanding of the world with their students. Isn’t that one of the reasons you joined the club to start with; because you love to learn and are never satisfied with what outdated information?
3) Nourish your genius
Your biggest job is to seek out and help nourish each student’s “genius”. I know we hear this day in and day out, but why do we think that some students are gifted and others aren’t? I don’t think that’s at all true. All your students are loveable, capable, creative, amazing, talented, gifted geniuses. Each and every single one of them are. They are geniuses, right now(even if you can’t see it on the surface).
I know you won’t be able to “touch” every student. I’m fully aware of that, but it is your responsibility to try to reach every student. You need to get to know what makes each of the students in your classroom tick, what floats their boat, trips their triggers, tickles their fancy, flies their kite, lights their candle, tosses their salad…and so on…and so on…
Often times we have those students in our class who acts as if they don’t like learning or that they don’t want to learn. The truth of the matter is that everyone loves to learn something, you as the teacher must invite your students to learn things they are passionate about as often as possible.
I came about this tweet a while back. Why would you want to capsize a students’ potential when they are in your class to become great people. Ten of the Best Ted Talks on Improving Education.
I know these are things that I have promised myself to do daily for the rest of my career as a teacher. These are just values that are important to me and everyone might have different opinions on these. Wherever you stand on the spectrum, I think every teacher has their own interests that they wish to focus on. I don’t think every teacher needs to have the same goals as long as an active effort is made to improve themselves and their students. Education is the one profession where both partners are trying to work towards a common goal together.