It’s back to school time! A new academic year brings forth new opportunities for both teachers and students to assert their greatness. Going back to school means starting fresh. We typically attribute this renewed opportunity to students, but teachers should also see it as a chance to become more effective inside and outside of the classroom.
This two-part educational series provides back to school tips for teachers and students. This column discusses what teachers can do to seize the moment, enhance personal relationships, and build respect with their students.
Singer Lauryn Hill once said, "anything that's not growing is dead." As educators, we must continue to practice and grow in our craft. Without growth, we remain stagnate, and that keeps us from reaching our full potential. Becoming a great teacher begins with the understanding that we all need to improve. We must strengthen our practices as teachers and learners.
Greatness is merely a collection of positive and consistent habits; therefore, we must work on being our best selves, so that we may evolve into powerful and productive educators.
Surround yourself with who you want to become
We tell this to students all of the time: “Be careful of who you hang out with.” It’s good, solid advice that is based upon our own experiences as people. However, we often forget that the same applies to us as educators. When we surround ourselves with negative teachers who constantly complain, we will become one of those teachers. If we surround ourselves with educators who see themselves as change agents in the midst of a struggle, we will let these challenges strengthen us.
As educators, it is extremely important for us to watch our thoughts and surroundings because they involuntarily become our actions. If we want to become more effective teachers, we must surround ourselves with teachers who embody want we want.
Respect is given and earned
The issue of respect is always a volatile subject for teachers. Many believe it should be given to them because of their age. That is not today's reality. Truth is, our youth have to be given unconditional respect and love before you can receive yours.
Therefore, in the classroom, treat youth like human beings, explain to them when they are wrong, maintain your composure in moments of frustration and celebrate their accomplishments as they move into adulthood. Lasting relationships are built on mutual respect.
We are responsible for shaping and molding the future. If we are not constantly working to improve our craft, we will lose our youth. We must continue to keep expectations high for our youth while also adjusting to the ever changing norms of society. We are the torch bearers and we must be steadfast in our approach. This school year allows us to be who we were made to be -- great!