How do you reach your students?
I think this is got to be one of the toughest questions a teacher can try to answer, but one of the most important. Everyone has a different way of reaching their students, of bringing the best out of them.
Some are stern task masters, driving their students to be the best they can be. I’ve had teachers like that – and I learned a lot in their class. Sometimes is was because they pushed me along, other times it was so I could show them I was better than they thought – either way it was effective motivation.
Then there are the nurturers. The “parent” figures. The ones who cared for you, and would help you feel good about yourself no matter what you did. The ones you would move heaven and earth for because that look of disappointment when something went wrong was a fate worse than death.
I’m partial to the entertainers. The ones that try to keep the class moving, exciting, where laugher is in the lesson plans. Capture the attention of the class and keep them so enthralled that they wouldn’t dare get off task for fear of missing something. Those were always my favourite teachers.
The “turtle” teachers. Slow and steady wins the race. Never give up, never surrender. They move along, leaving no one behind. Quite often these are quiet, reserved teachers. Easy going educators who provide a quiet, safe environment for all students to work in.
Don’t forget about the buddy teacher. This has got to be the most difficult to pull off. To be a pal to your students, yet maintain that professional distance. Highly effective when done right, but can be the kiss of death if your students think you’re a peer not a leader.
So many different ways to teach. And of course, because these are stereotypes – everyone is a combination of all of them. Personally I’m an entertainer/taskmaster, with a bit of the buddy thrown in. I set high goals, and hold my students accountable for all their actions… while putting on a heck of a show with voices, props, and even volunteers from the audience (and now for my next trick…) I’m a rabble rouser who gets energetic and loud. During my practicum (many moons ago) a teacher from another school came to visit while I was teaching a math lesson. His exact words to my mentor teacher was “who’s the Baptist preacher?” I try to live up to that every day.
But everyone is different – and no one style will reach all of our students. That’s why I’m a firm believer in having kids get a new teacher every year. So – how do you reach your students? How do you inspire the masses? How do you help make them more than they were – and better than they ever thought they could be?