Sometimes, the pressures of teaching and the responsibilities placed on us shift our focus to standards and test scores and curriculum. Students become numbers associated with a test score. Are they making gains? Are they learning? Are the numbers improving?
But you know what? I don’t teach standards or curriculum or tests.
I teach kids.
Do you stop to get to really know your students? I try. I am definitely not perfect at it. I know some of my students really well. I know some of students a little bit, and there are others I really don’t know well at all. With some of my students, there are really special connections. As a former sixth grade teacher turned high school teacher working in the same cluster, I have developed some long term relationships with students.
I have a student I taught in sixth grade who won a scholarship to attend Space Camp through a contest I hosted thanks to Honeywell. This year, she is in my chemistry class. During open house in the fall, her mom told me it is my fault that her daughter loves science and wants to study space, and it all stemmed from her experiences at Space Camp.
I teach in the largest school district in Georgia, and yet our community retains a small town feel. I see my kids at the mall, at church, and other places around town. My kids stop and chat with me. We have conversations. For many of my students, I know their parents.
It is so important to remember that our students are people filled with hopes, dreams, loves, stresses, and struggles. Our job may technically be to teach content and standards, but ultimately we are teaching kids to become productive members of society set on the path to reach their goals and dreams. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to show our students we care about them as people.
I’ll leave your with this text conversation I had with a student yesterday. I think it highlights the type of relationships I have with my students. Because just like us, our students are humans worthy of respect, so we can help them reach their true potential.