I learnt an important lesson teaching the last two weeks. I learnt about the power of reinforcement and encouragement. I am currently covering a sick leave. I am working full time in a DEIS school in North Dublin. I tell my students that they are great and to try their best and it doesn’t matter if they get it wrong, I get things wrong all the time! It has completely changed the atmosphere from the first day when I walked into their classroom. The first day I walked in and none of the students’ wanted to read. Now they all want to read, even the ones who get stuck on every second word. Why do they want to read now? Because I am kind to them and I encourage them and I support them. By doing so, I am not even teaching there two weeks yet but already they know I care about them and I listen to them and that I believe in them. I never noticed before how encouragement can make such a big impact on a student’s life. Many of my students do not have someone to tell them that they are amazing. I casually asked them did any of them want to go to college and most of them laughed. Many of them want to drop out and have kids or else do a FAS course. I believe in them and I believe of them would be well able for college. Chloe said she wanted to go ‘travelling’ and a good few of the girls laughed. Travelling should be a achievable for any student and not to be talked down because you come from a certain area. As a teacher it is important that we are kind, good listeners and that we believe in our pupils and want our students to achieve the best they can! Many young people don’t have a parent/guardian or that someone who will believe in them and push them. Be that someone. Be that light for them! They need you!
As an NQT, every day is a learning experience. It is really exciting!
One of my favourite videos is this TED talk on education from Rita Pierson entitled ‘Every Kid needs a champion‘. I regularly watch it as I find it really inspiring. I think it is a video that every teacher needs to watch. She discusses the significance of the relationships in education. She makes us realise that every kid needs a champion. As teachers we are very privileged to be working with students everyday. We must be their champion! We must care for them, push them and believe in them! She is the epitome of what Education Day is about! She reminds us of the ‘value and importance of human connection’. James Comer said that ‘no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship’. He is right, students will only respect you if they feel you care about them. CARING is so important in education! You must care about the pupils and you must convey to them that you care about them! Piersons is right when she says that ‘kids don’t learn from people they do not like’.
‘We are educators and we are born to make a difference’.
A few months ago on the ‘Humans of New York’ Facebook page I was introduced to Ms Lopez. I hope I can be half the teacher that Ms Lopez is.
She says that teachers are like ‘second mom’s. We must always tell students that they matter.