She was my favorite teacher "Ms. SantaMaria" and there are pictures of her with me throughout my elementary years. What made Ms. SantaMaria so special was the connection she made with the students in our class. We knew she cared for us and we were inspired by her courage after she told us she was battling cancer and would have to wear a wig for sometime.
As a young adult I would think of her strength and character when I encountered difficult situations in my life. She was inspirational. As an educator the idea of being inspirational is something I try to embody in my teaching practice. Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear my students share personal examples of good teaching. There were many similar characteristics that emerged from the discussion.
* Content matter experts
* Motivates students to do their best
* Uses a variety of approaches to engage students
* Understand students needs
* Challenge students thinking
* Set goals and clear objectives
* Make learning enjoyable & interesting
* Share personal stories
* Clear and consistent communication
* Scaffold instruction
* Supportive and knows students individually
* Makes connections to personal lives
* Breaks down difficult content
* Available beyond school bell
* Show they care.
Each student shared their personal story from early elementary to college. Consistently the emotional connection they had with the teacher was central to the relationship. The more the students felt cared for and supported the more likely they were to take risk, make an effort to do well, persist in class and believe in themselves.
At the end of the day the most important thing to our students is not how well they do on an exam, but that they are cared for and supported by their teacher.
How do you show your students you care for them?