Writing this blog gives me an opportunity to reflect on some of my relationships with teachers. Today, I went all the way back to my kindergarten teacher at P.S. 95 in Brooklyn, NY. She embraced my wild imagination when I rambled every Monday morning about weekend trips around the globe and back. Fast forward to my 11th grade World History teacher, who with a note on the back of my graded quiz, encouraged me to find the balance between my boyfriend and school. Next, my undergraduate college professor used his resources to connect me to an opportunity which allowed me to complete my student teaching experience in Europe, fulfilling my dream to travel the world. Finally, my dissertation chair, who after listening to my rants about revising sections of my dissertation sternly advised, “Earning a doctoral degree is only for the mature.” Following that conversation, I consistently worked on my writing and submitted a dissertation that made us both proud.
These interactions are reminders of the importance of reaching learners of all ages beyond learning objectives or a course syllabus. In order to reach learners, we must:
- Take it personally. We can’t go by the motto, It’s business not personal, in this profession. We have to make personal commitments to our learners.
- Create opportunities for students to share their interests and beliefs. Let students know that what they desire counts, even if it can’t be carried out at that time.
- Be responsive to subtle and drastic changes in a student’s mood, behavior, appearance, or general attitude toward learning.
Take time to reflect on some of the positive connections you had with teachers and how it impacted your personal, academic, or professional growth. It bet it will give you insight into how to connect with your learners.
Enjoy your week,