Every student entering the classroom is important. Every student is worth the teacher’s devoted time, patience and understanding. Each individual student brings baggage into the school; their personal experiences, their preconceived understandings/ knowledge, their sense of self and others. Every student in a class, a grade, and the wider school is unique- each individual student has specific strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and aspirations that make them, them. With this being recognized, I believe that it is my job as an educator to get to know my students on a personal level. I believe that relationships need to be deeper than ‘talking about what we are learning in English Language Arts.’ As a teacher, I want to have a positive report with each student because I firmly believe that a student will participate more fully and engage in their learning if they feel safe, comfortable and, wanted inside of their classroom.
I believe in the following strategies to aid in the development of relationships with students:
- learn and acknowledge every student’s name, preferred name and/or pronoun. Encourage individuality within the classroom and embrace change/growth in students.
- learn about each individual student: ask about their families, their friends, their hobbies, their dislikes/likes (etc). While having conversations with a student be engaged and make it known that you genuinely care. The following phrases can be used to initiate a conversation: ‘I saw this at _______ and it made me think of you!’, ‘I love that you have an interest in ______, did you know this interest fact about it______?’, ‘I think it is very cool that you participate in this extracurricular activity, can you tell me your favorite thing about it?’
- use student interests to your advantage – incorporate their interests into everyday lessons and into inquiry projects! Make learning fun and engaging.
- remind students every day that they are wanted, appreciated and loved. Greet students at the door with ‘Hi ______, I am so excited to learn with you today! I am happy that you are here!’
- co-learn with your students – remind yourself that students have valuable information to share and that you are never done learning and engaging in knowledge
- teach with enthusiasm and passion – be mindful of the attitude that you’re bringing into the classroom
- If a student does not meet your expectation, consider ‘outside factors’ as well as give fresh starts
- Treat every student with respect, regardless of the situation
As an educator, it is important to recognize that my students’ will have diverse needs and strengths. It is my job to:
- continuously become educated about different diagnoses that students have. Never consider a disability to be something limiting – see the ability in all students.
- seek out resources through the school, your peers, the school division and the wider community.
- create individual lesson plans based on the needs of the students. As an educator, we must recognize that it is our commitment to spend the time, energy and resources needed to ensure the highest possible success for all students.
- Keep in mind that ‘what is the same is not always fair’ – some students need extra support and that is necessary.
- consider the students in every decision you make – ask for their personal opinions and/or involve their families.
As stated in my last bulletin, I believe that it is important to incorporate families into the classroom. As a teacher, we want to bridge the gap between school and home. Building a relationship with families creates a mutual understanding, respect, and transparency. I believe it is in the best interest of every child to build good relations with those who are close to them. The following list has tips/ tricks to use in the classroom:
- always be transparent about what you’re teaching, why and how parent’s/guardians have the opportunity to research this topic, themselves, further. As an educator in Saskatchewan, we are bound by the Saskatchewan Curriculum to teach every outcome – show family members concrete evidence of why your lessons/activities are meeting curriculum standards.
- have an ‘open door’ teaching strategy – be available when the parents/guardians are. As a teacher it is important to know each individual student and family – that being said, it is crucial to be flexible to meet families individual needs.
- encourage parental involvement in the classroom – remind parents that their influence and expertise is valued! As a teacher, it is important to learn from and with the families.
- offer ‘out of school’ information evenings. Answer questions and build a relationship with each individual family through communication – using apps, such as seesaw, is wonderful to continue conversations much after the date.