I was reading a previous post on 20 Things Students Want Us to Know About Teachers/Education and it reminded me of something I saw a few months ago. I felt that the list from MindShift was insightful in pointing out what might be wrong with our educational system, but few specific pointers in how to improve. I was especially interested in kayymm’s comment that perhaps we don’t need to love, but respect our students. I linked to the original article from MindShift and some comments were also saying that teachers should not be trained in counselling because it’s not their job. I agree that it’s not our jobs to be counsellors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an impact on our students as people, rather than just academically. I found this list (150 Ideas to Show Kids You Care) posted in my operetta director’s house. She has taught music and drama for 10+ years and has two daughters. Here are some of my favourites.
Smile a lot.
Learn their names.
Seek them out.
Ask them about themselves
Tell them their feelings are okay.
Set boundaries that keep them safe.
Listen to their stories
Forget your worries sometimes and concentrate only on them.
Notice when they’re acting differently.
Present options when they seek your counsel.
Suggest better behaviors when they act out.
Feed them when they’re hungry.
Delight in their discoveries.
Share their excitement.
Notice when they’re absent.
Give them space when they need it.
Contribute to their collections.
Discuss their dreams and nightmares.
Laugh at their jokes.
Use your ears more than your mouth.
Make yourself available.
Show up at their concerts, games, and events.
Apologize when you’ve done something wrong.
Wave and smile when you part.
Point out what you like about them.
Clip magazine pictures or articles that interest them.
Catch them doing something right.
Encourage win-win solutions.
Give them your undivided attention.
Ask for their opinion.
Be curious with them.
Let them solve most of their own problems.
Let them tell you how they feel.
Help them become an expert at something.
Tell them about yourself.
Give them a special nickname.
Ask them to help you.
Deal with problems and conflicts while they’re still small.
Chaperone a dance.
Tell them stories in which they are the hero.
Believe in them.
Nurture them with good food.
Notice when they grow.
Be understanding when they have a difficult day.
Give them good choices.
Respect the choices they make.
Accept them as they are.
Become their advocate.
Encourage them to help others.
Believe what they say…
Full list available here: http://www.cyc-net.org/today2000/today001211.html Though not all these ideas would be pertinent to teachers, it gives us a starting point as to how to look after the real people who come into our classrooms. Here are some others that have occurred to me since I started teaching:
Buy cookies at their bake sale, let them hang out in your classroom at lunch, phone home just to let their parents know they’ve made an improvement. Do you have any others?