Some students, especially older students, find it difficult to talk openly with their teachers. What do you think your students would say if they sat down and had an open conversation with you?
Here are a few examples of what they may be thinking and how you can help support them:
I do care about my grades.
Many students care about their grades a lot more than they will admit. That being said, put time and care into grading their work. If they earn less than 100%, tell them why and how they can improve. If you become careless with their grades, they’ll become careless with them as well.
I want a choice in my education.
In school, it’s easy to do just about anything to avoid actually reading an assigned novel (research online, movies, etc.). One of our teachers had a great way of engaging her students.
Instead of telling the student which book to read and when to read it, Ms. Roberts polled the class and asked the order in which they would like to read each book. This keeps student accountable and the options for a choice in what they wanted to learn.
I could teach you a thing or two if you’d just listen.
It’s impossible to be an expert in everything. Yes, in most areas, you have more experience and knowledge than your students. However, in some areas, your students may know more than you do (especially when it comes to technology). So don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
Respect is a two way street.
If you want your students to respect you and look to you as a role model, you must show them the same kindness and and consideration you expect from them.
What you say is just as important as how you say it.
Remember that students are impressionable. If you’re not excited about something (like standardized tests), your negativity will come through in your tone and actions if you’re not careful. So make sure to pay attention not only to what you say, but also how you say it.
I want to learn.
Every student wants to learn. Now, whether or not they want to learn what you are offering is another story. The hard part is figuring out how to teach the material in a way that will keep them wanting more. Every teacher is a salesman… what are you selling to your students?
Take home test = Can I Google it?
Here is a common mistake. A teacher sends their students home with a test and tells them not to work together. That’s fine – your students will follow your exact instructions. Since using Google isn’t technically working with another person, they will not see a problem with it. While this may clearly be seen as cheating to you, many of your student will truly not see why this may be wrong. Make sure you are deliberate in your directions because your students can be cunning (as you already know).
You impact my life more than you know.
Your students spend about eight hours a day at school, which is probably more time than they spend awake with their own families. It’s simply impossible for you not to make an impression. And if you’re a great teacher (reading this blog post is a sign that you might be), chances are your students will talk about you and things that happened in your classroom long after next year.