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Growing into Teaching: Value of the Student/Teacher Connection


This is the fourth in a series of 10 lessons retired teacher Tom Krause says every new teacher needs to learn to grow in the profession.

Welcome to teaching! You are now part of a profession solely dedicated to helping students of all ages learn. It is a profession where the more you give, the more you get in return. Most famous people are eventually forgotten, but teachers live on in the hearts and minds of their students.

First you need to learn the rules and operating procedures of your new building and district.  Once you have that down, it is time to grow into your occupation.

These are lessons every new teacher should learn. Do not expect to learn them all at once, but as you gain experience, you will find these lessons valuable.

4. Value of the Student/Teacher Connection

A young teacher was having all kinds of trouble with her classroom. Frustrated to tears, she sought the advice of a popular co-worker. For nearly an hour the panicked teacher explained how nothing she tried helped to control. All the threats seemed to fall on deaf ears almost as if the students were daring her to carry out her threatened punishment. The teacher dreaded walking into her room each day. It was so bad that she was beginning to think of leaving the profession she had just joined.

Finally the co-worker took out a piece of paper and instructed the teacher to write down everything she knew about each student. The teacher was at a loss for words. Besides the names of the students she couldn’t describe anything else about them.

The co-worker then assigned the teacher to interview each student individually. During each interview, the teacher began to make a connection with the student. Almost immediately the atmosphere in the room changed. The teacher learned that her real source of power with the students was through her connection with them and not threats.

Many studies have found that a strong teacher/student connection brings very positive results. Test scores increased, discipline referrals declined significantly and the overall atmosphere in the classroom is improved. The wise teacher learns that power does not come from the student discipline code. Real power comes from the positive connections they enjoy with their students.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The same applies to students. The personal connection a teacher has with the student is the most influential factor in student success. Always remember, the more you give of yourself, the more you get back in return.

Previous Growing Into Teaching Posts


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