Mantra for a Teacher

Posted: 2011/03/07 in Classroom Teacher, Education, High School, Students

My first two weeks in a classroom I was screaming my head off and banging furniture. At that time I was unsure whether my classroom adventure would last beyond a matter of a few days. I didn’t know whether I would pursue taking credential classes and had no idea my first stint as a sub would evolve into a permanent job.

I lost my voice screaming. Worst of all, I yelled out of real anger.

And then I found my mantra. Sometimes a teacher needs a voice over his shoulder, even if it’s his own voice. My mantra is eleven words: These. Are. Children. And. They. Want. Someone. To. Care. About. Them.

It doesn’t matter if that boy is dressed as the “baddest gangsta in the hood.” It doesn’t even matter if, in fact, the boy truly lives his life as that baddest gangsta. He is a child and he wants someone to care about him. Same goes for the girl who dresses like a Capp Street hooker. Even if, in fact, she heads directly to Capp Street after school, she is a child and she wants someone to care about her.

There’s some student who’s making your life more difficult, making it hard for classmates to learn, encouraging others to disrespect the classroom. I know you want to be angry at that kid. I know you don’t want to say it, but: He is a child and he wants someone to care about him.

You can’t fake it. False praise or clumsy attempts to connect with a kid are transparent. But if you can sincerely show that you care about a young person you can break down most all barriers. If you can help young people feel good about themselves and believe in themselves, then you know you’ve got “the touch” and you belong in the classroom.

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