The day I started writing this post was a tough day. It was also an amazing day. I have learned more about trust and the value of the relationship between teacher and class than any other day. As a first year teacher, I have realized that it is more important that I build those relationships than I complete the curriculum. These kids come to us each day and give us their best hours. We shape their lives in the most meaningful ways and direct their growth as people. I can learn to become stronger at delivering curriculum, what I can’t learn is to be a caring and loving person who builds relationships and nurtures their soul. That part is all about who I am as a person and who I let myself be as a teacher.
There are a few things that are an important part of building the relationships I have so far:
- Communication. I talk and talk and talk with my students. I have check ins, chats, talks in large groups, small groups and individually. Since getting rid of my desk, I rarely sit. I am always circling. Do I miss things, of course! What I can do is try to keep up the conversation.
- Mutual Respect, Trust, & Feedback. I trust my students. I can leave the room and when I come back, I can expect that they will be working with some little bits of chatting. I can work with a student one on one and the rest will work where they need to. I can send them to different parts of the school and they will work well with minimal check ins. This comes from feedback on their behaviour and building a reputation of being an awesome class. I have never had a complaint about the class as a whole. We work very hard and we earn that respect and trust. It goes both ways. I can trust them to have fun and explore in their learning because they have shown they can. This wasn’t by accident. They are 10 year olds who have have had consistent reinforcement from myself as to expectations and built the opportunity to be responsible into their learning.
- Consistent deposits into the bank. I have to build my students up. The need the courage and confidence in themselves to pick themselves back up when things are tough. Kids may be resilient but they need to built the foundation and they need support systems in places.
I say this quiet often but relationships are key. Together we have to build a community where we support each other, take ownership over our learning and develope responsibility.