As educators, we know all too well how tough it is to get (or keep) our energy level up to teach students who sometimes donít want to learn. Iíve even heard students describe teachers as being ďa speed bump to a grade.Ē
Itís true that more and more students are not graduating from high school with the necessary skills to succeed in college (or in life for that matter). Itís also true that more and more students are taking their education for granted and not respecting the process and the institution of learning. However, these obstacles also offer us an opportunity to make a huge impact on our students.
One of the cardinal rules of teaching is that students will not believe in you until you first believe in them and what youíre teaching them.
As discouraging as some studentsí attitudes are, nothing should negate the fact that as educators, we have an opportunity to take a closed mind and replace it with an open one. In essence, that's our number one priorityÖto get students to think.
Our jobs give us a great opportunity to get students to open their minds and challenge themselves beyond their limits. Youíre not only teaching them basic skills, youíre teaching them life skills Ė skills that will impact them well beyond the classroom. Unfortunately, if you donít believe this is true, neither will your students.
To get yourself in the right mindset for teaching, skim through the class objectives. Then ask yourself, ďHow could a student benefit from this material, now and in the future?Ē Obviously, if you canít think of a student benefit, then maybe you shouldnít be teaching the subject. If your belief in the subject matter isnít strong, then you will have no conviction in the classroom. And weíve all heard the saying, ďWhen it comes to children, you canít kid a kid.Ē Students can detect an insincere teacher faster than a fake I.D.
However, if you truly believe that the knowledge and information taught in your class will prove to be beneficial to your students, then take your conviction and passion and put it into class discussions, activities, and assignments.
The fact of the matter is, students will only care about your class to the degree to which you do (sometimes less, but never more). If you donít care about a thing, that ďthingĒ can and will become a burden on you. Likewise, if you teach that ďthingĒ for the wrong reasons, you will become a burden on your students. And quite frankly, if a teacher doesnít care, then that teacher shouldnít teach.
"Where Success is the Only Major"
Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant. He's the author of "Good Teachers Never Quit." Joe speaks and consults for more than 50 schools and school districts across the country each year (delivering more than 100 presentations). His mission is to help students, teachers, and administrators learn, lead, and live with purpose and passion. Joe was voted "Speaker of the Year" by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities, and he's the host of the "Good Teachers Never Quit" radio show. He's also a columnist for the Teachers.net Gazette. To find out more, you can visit his web sites at www.RWuniversity.com
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