Dear Future Ms. Dolce,
As I sit here with my face buried in books and unending assignments filling up my calendar, I figured I would write you some teacher tips before you forget what it’s like to be a student. So the next time you can’t understand why your students are not doing what you want, look back at this to better understand.
- Always have a granola bar in your desk. Whether for a hungry kid or for hungry you, a full tummy is a happy tummy. And happy tummies are more productive learners (and teachers). Good nutrition is important for development and hunger can be a distraction. Be mindful that all children may not have access to sufficient food. Also Ms. Dolce, you get kind of cranky when you don’t eat.
- Leave some wiggle room for wiggle time. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which allows for more synaptic connections to be made. Plan for some movement time in your schedule. If students are getting lethargic and unresponsive have them shake their wiggles out. You’ve had your fair share of “ants in the pants.”
- Welcome to Funville, population: You. Having fun is a really underemphasized good teaching practice. If students are interested, they will make more connections to the academic material, giving it more meaning. Be sure that the fun doesn’t overshadow the lesson, but do include it. Up until today, your favorite lesson is still Mrs. F’s 7th grade unit on forensics in which you had to analyze evidence to figure out which of your classmates kidnapped Elmo.
- #Realtalk. You are a person, your students are people. Use this commonality to your advantage. Students often forget that teachers are people too. And too often teachers neglect to take the time to get to know their individual students. Opening up to students and connecting with them helps the class bond. If your students feel a connection with you they will trust you and will be more willing to take risks in the classroom. Don’t forget, the teachers that have impacted you the most made an effort to know you as a person and you got to know them too.
Basically, Ms. Dolce, try not to forget what it’s like to sit in the student’s seat and remember that you can have a great impact on your students, just like your teachers had on you.
Good luck and have fun,