Your Students and Letting Your Students Know You Judi Fenton
It is crucially important to connect with your students.
Teachers who don’t get to know their students well, and
don’t let the students get to know them well, more often
have behavior issues in their classes. When students get to know
you and feel you know them, they make more rational decisions
about whether or not they want to cause you trouble in the whole
class setting. Even the most difficult students think about their
actions before causing trouble when they feel connected to their
teacher. By getting to know them well, and letting them get to
know you, you help them to see that you are a real person and
their actions may cause you pain. When you are a likeable human
to them, they don’t want to do that. Knowing your students
well help you to know how to handle their behavior better. Here
are a few suggestions:
Have each student fill out an interest inventory. Read their answers often to remind yourself about
their interests—then teach with those interests in mind.
Teach lessons based on their interests, buy books about those
things, create math word problems based on their interests
(and use students’ names in the problems), talk to the
kids about what they are passionate about, etc.
Have a few students in to eat lunch with you once
a week. I know you need some student-free down time,
but an investment of one lunch hour per week can serve you
very well. Sitting down to informally eat and talk and laugh
and be human with 3-4 students can really help you get to
know them well outside of the more formal classroom environment.
They will also get to know you, as a person instead of a teacher.
Include yourself in their learning community and
model what a learner looks like. Reflect aloud with
your students about your own learning. Share your own story
about how difficult converting fractions to decimals was for
you until your teacher worked individually with you. Tell
them that when you write you have to be in a quiet place with
a beautiful journal and a perfectly balanced pen in your hand.
Share that all of us learn differently, including you.
These suggestions will not only lead to a more peaceful classroom
community with more engaged learners, they will also make you
a more relaxed teacher. You won’t have to put on your “teacher”
persona when you are in front of your class. You’ll be able
to more fully integrate yourself into your teaching, and that
will lead to many good things.
Do you have a comment or question about this How To? E-mail
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