Students are not just vessels to fill with facts!

After talking to one of my friends that their child is experiencing a strict educational regime with no ounce of fun, it has compelled me to look at how students should be treated as individuals who do not need to get 100% on everything to succeed in life.

Teaching is not just a matter of passing along information and knowledge from one generation to the next; it is also all about the relationships used to create an effective learning environment. Sometimes these relationships can be hard to maintain when faced with juggling: marking, playground duty and overall classroom behaviour. However, above all we must remember that we must treat students how we would wish to be treated.

So what can you do to better understand and interact with the group of human beings you currently impart knowledge  with?

Distance yourself from the actions and start asking, “Why?” Why is this student so angry when he or she comes into my class every day?….  Perhaps there is an underlying problem. At times, the words said by the students in these outburst may hurt, however we need to put this aside and ask questions of ourselves that may help us in the quest to work towards a solution.

By gathering this information and using it, you can then determine what kind of interactions you want to have with other people whether they are students or adults. Equipped with this knowledge, interactions will continue to be instinctive rather than deliberate.

Help your interactions be positive ones by gaining understanding of how people “work.” The more you observe, reflect, and look for understanding, the more it will come to you. The better you understand how people “work,” the better you will be able to interact with your students, with parents, and with colleagues. Just remember, seek first to understand and then react!

Being friendly:

Friendly means greeting students with a smile and handshake. It also means offering a pat on the back or a hug as needed. This does not mean that we should never use a firm tone of voice or reprimand our students. Instead, it is important to remember to have a pleasant outlook rather than a sour outlook throughout the day. There are times when you will need to show disapproval or disappointment in regards to student misbehaviour. Yes, students may get mad at you for a little while, but it will go away. When they see that you can be friendly again once they change their behaviours, you will find that they appreciate that friendliness more.

Having a sense of humour:

It is important to remember that your students are young and they are acting the way most young ones do. Rather than getting frustrated with some of their antics, take some time to enjoy them. When we can have a sense of humour about what our students do, our lives become less stressful. Sometimes children are just being children. Don’t take everything quite so seriously and you’ll find yourself having fun each day.

When enjoying a funny moment with students, be sure to make a clear transition back into the lesson or activity. It is very easy for students to take that fun moment and turn it into twenty minutes of chaos.

Having a good rapport with students:

Get to know your students. Try to take a little bit of time each day to talk one-on-one with each of your students. Greet them at the door. Check their homework calendar at the start or end of class and use that time to say hello and find out how they are doing. Ask about their family, friends, pets, hobbies. If they are involved in sports, ask about the latest game. The more we get to know our students as people and treat them as such, the more our students will respect us as a person. It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day “teaching” and forget that we have a group of individuals with us. They each have their own history, their own stories, and their own likes/dislikes, which are as important to them as ours are to us.

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