Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teachers sometimes forget the most important part of teaching is not delivering the content but their relationship with their students. If you spend time developing that relationship, the content will come naturally. After all, you are an expert in your field, trained to teach that subject matter. But if you don't first develop, and constantly strive to maintain a relationship with your students, all that knowledge is wasted.

Developing those relationships successfully depending on the grade level you teach. With middle schoolers, it is all about knowing them as an individual and acknowledging their uniqueness. They want you to ask about their life outside of school; they want you to comment on their new hair cut or sneakers; they want you to laugh at their jokes.Middle schoolers want to know about your life outside of school; they want you to share bits of yourself with them; they want to laugh at your jokes.

Yelling, demeaning, threatening, intimidation.... have no place in a classroom. Humor, reasoning, logical consequences go much farther in establishing order. Choices, conversations and praise work in almost every situation.

Some teachers think by ignoring students, they can eliminate problems. In certain circumstances, sure, picking your battles, letting the little stuff go, is definitely the right option. But allowing students to rule the roost, do whatever they want, with little or no regard for the good of the all, will set up a pattern of behavior that will soon snowball out of control. Nip insubordination in the bud early, before it is out of control by establishing your role as the classroom leader, not allowing an unruly student to run the show.

If you establish your classroom as a safe zone, a place where all are accepted, all are valued, and all are treated fairly, classroom rules become irrelevant as the class itself determines the norms. The daily routine ebbs and flows with little interruption or disruption. Relationships flourish and academic achievement clippity clops along.

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