Tomorrow I will meet my new students. All 140 of them. (I’ll have 26 of the same sophomores).
And I’m nervous.
My incoming students have enormous shoes to fill. The kids I had last semester were incredible. I loved every second I got to spend with them.
They left my class wanting to change the world and believing they had the tools to do it. I said goodbye to them knowing it was true, they were capable.
The thing is, I’m not certain I can make this happen again. I’m not sure how it happened the first time, but I think I may have narrowed it down to a few steps.
STEP 1 Trust: I haven’t been teaching long, but long enough to learn that they key is trust.
In order for my students to learn from me, they have to trust me. Trust that I’m going to do the things I say I’m going to. Trust that I’m going to be there every day. Trust that I’m not going to humiliate to demean them. Trust that I genuinely want to help them improve and I care about who they are as a person.
STEP 2 Belief: A student has to be motivated for learning to occur. In order for that to happen, I have to convince them that they are worth the investment of time and effort. They have to believe in themselves.
STEP 3 Love: I don’t get to go to work, go through the motions and get the job done. I have to do it with love. I have to get attached. I have to care. I have to feel their successes and I have to endure the disappointment when they give up. That’s what makes it real for me and I think that authenticity is a necessity. I’m not just playing a part, I’m their teacher and they deserve the real deal.
What else is there?
I’m sure there is more to it and I just don’t know it yet.
What do you think? What does it require for a teacher to be successful?