People have complicated teaching. You can disagree with me on that but I think back to my years in elementary school and middle school and I remember half of the things I learned.
Yes, we have to stick to standards and we have to, you know, do our job. But if my students learn nothing else than how to be a kind and generous human. That the world is their curriculum. That in order to grow, you have to be flexible, take opportunities, ask lots of questions, and not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. I have done more than my job.
The learning will come one way or the other and it comes faster for some kids than others. We have kids in our rooms who struggle in the classroom but flourish in the arts, music, athletics, speaking, etc. and it is a disservice to them to only find value in their test scores or what it says on their IEP.
Our students are just tiny humans who are figuring out the world and who they want to be in it.
And you know just like we don’t take direction well from people we dislike, kids don’t learn from teachers they don’t like.
It is our job to first establish those relationships with our students and their families to create an environment where kids are encouraged to try new things, be vulnerable, and want to be at school. That’s not the kids job.
One thing I have done this year and that I suggest every teacher do, is hanging out with my students outside of the school day and meeting them where they shine.
This winter I went and surprised a group of boys in my class to play hockey with them on a random at home learning day.
This past weekend I showed up to 2 of my students dance competitions to watch them.
These are the things they will remember. I hope they take away some of the skills I’ve taught them academically but they will forever remember how I showed up for them when I didn’t have to.
I did it because I love them and want to be their cheerleader in everything they do.
It also helps foster relationships with the parents in your classroom. By proving to them that you truly do enjoy their student and that when they are gone for 6 hours a day, they are in the hands of someone who cares deeply about their success in life. It makes conversations you need to have with them easier. These parents know their child way better than I ever could in the 8 months I get them for. When parents are happy, kids are happy, and then I am also very happy.
When you start showing up for kids in more ways than standing in your classroom, that relationship becomes so much stronger. They like being at school. They are excited to share things with you. They are more motivated to learn.
In this world where education is being thrown through the ringer, uncomplicate it. Take it back to how it was when we were kids. We chose this profession because of the kids, not because of the policies in place or because it is the greatest job in the world.
So make teaching fun again.