I never understand classes where the teacher doesn’t have interest in their students’ lives. When I was a student, I could absolutely tell who was genuinely interested in their subject and students and others who are there because it’s their job. One thing that I believe needs to be more emphasized in teacher education programs is that you have to be interested in students’ lives. It’s not just about liking the content. You could be the smartest person in the world, but if you do not attempt to know your students, none of it matters.
We all meet each other for a reason. These are humans in our classrooms. They have had many experiences they would love to share and insights that will make us grow. In my class, you will have a voice. At the beginning of the semester, I try to at least ask them what city/high school they are from and where they work, then expand from there throughout the semester. I’ve been trying to go around to different groups before the period starts to just talk, maybe about how their weekend was, how other classes are going, how work is going, etc.
Honestly, I do believe these little conversations go a long way. I have students reflect at the very end of the semester and last semester, a student wrote “I thought it was really great you kept asking how my work was going or where I worked at. I think only 1 other teacher ever in my 4 ½ years at Fresno has ever asked me where I work or how is it. It really made me feel like I’m more than my ID #.” We don’t know anything about their home life, we don’t know if they have support outside of class, so we should make them feel comfortable in the classroom.
On the “student” side of things, I went to CMC South listening to Robert Berry, and one of the very first things he said was “I’m going to treat you like family” and that automatically made me feel extremely comfortable and happy to be in that room. How awesome would that be if all students let their guard down right at the start of the semester?
Everyday (besides test days), I give my students a tip of the day. The last tip of the day I give them is “Keep in touch.” I really mean it. I want to know how they have grown and what they have applied. We only cross paths for maybe a semester or two, but I am interested in how you do later on.
So if you’re my student, feel free to open up! You are more than your ID number, and I want to prepare you to be the best educator you can be.
Thanks for reading.