Like most people, I enjoy doing the things I feel most comfortable doing. In the classrooom and school environment I love building relationships with students and being a role model to those students. More often than not, teacher are devoured by curriculum, meetings, and data.
We need constant reflection in our practice to become more effective. In my experiences, the students who I build strong relationships with in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the afterschool program perform for me at the highest levels. However, the art of building relationships is not an easy task. I am fortunate to have spent a lot of my younger days working in outreach ministry called Young Life searching for “lost” kids. This experience challenged me to go out of my comfort zone (community events, athletic contests, school lunches, etc.) and be more visual. Once a child sees you have a vested interest in them, I find they are willing to speak with you. However, building the trust or as I like to call it “the right to be heard” can take a lot of time with some students.
As those conversations continue to grow, students will open up and share their struggles otuside of the classroom. By understanding those struggles, strategies can be put in placed to help the student to become more successful in school and in life.
I am reminded of Maryland and National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb. I have watched Sean on numerous Yout Tube videos, as the one shown below, and a certain message always flows from him. Students are yearning to build positive relationships with adults and know someone cares about them. It’s probably one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, but I find it sometimes the most rewarding.
Special shout out to my former Young Life Leaders — Dave Etling, Donnie Meredith, and Kevin Hildebrandt — who gave me the foundational skill of building relationships which I use every day in my teaching career. Each of your individual’s compassion towards young people has affected me and caused a ripple effect to all the students I have come in contact with since I began teaching.
****Day 4 of 30 for the Teacher Blogging Challenge Complete
Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?