Be the teacher who makes every student feel like the favourite student. I recently found this quote on my Facebook feed and it resonated strongly with me.
I have always believed that any student can learn and that as a teacher, I can have a positive impact on students who struggle with their learning. I think this is one of the reasons I majored in Special Education when studying for my Masters and accepted the role of a Support Teacher Literacy and Numeracy.
But teaching is more than helping students to learn, it is also about establishing a rapport with students, providing a place where they feel safe and accepted and looking after the ‘under-dog’.
It is so important to ‘know our students’ – not just how they learn, but also what and who is important to them. Like many teachers, I make a point of saying hello, noticing the little things, such as a haircut and celebrating birthdays. For students whose home life is less fortunate, school is sometimes their sanctuary.
I saw this quote on my twitter feed recently and it struck a chord. Sometimes those with the greatest need are those who are the most challenging in the classroom. I can remember going home from a hard day at school wanting to give up on a particularly difficult student, but waking up the next day, ready to start again and try something different.
“There is clear evidence that five years of learning from above average teachers would erase the academic effects from poverty.” Eric Jensen
In an interview with staff from We Are Teachers, Jensen suggested five things that all teachers can do to connect with students affected by poverty to help them succeed in their classrooms.
- Teach vocabulary daily
- Make your classroom a stress-free zone
- Treat your class like family
- Take brain breaks
- Share a mini autobiography
These seem like five simple strategies to employ. If you get the opportunity, read this entire article. It is a reminder that as teachers, we can have a huge impact on the lives of all our students, but particularly those impacted by poverty.