How to Connect with Students and Be More Flexible (Teacher Series)

Susan realized that the most important aspect of teaching really is building relationships with her students. Lesson plans may change, but really seeing students as whole people with needs and lives outside of the classroom helps her to reach them and teach in an impactful way.

Listen to the podcast here:

1.What did you wish you knew before you started teaching?

That taking care of myself and developing relationships with students are the most important components to effective middle school teaching.

Story: I would spend hours creating perfect lessons and stay up late doing so. I would spend all my outside time on schoolwork and neglect exercising, socializing, sleeping, etc. I would get really cranky with my students for not appreciating the cool stuff I would create. I realized that they needed a happy teacher. When I was rested and happy and calm, I could be patient with them.Then, I learned to accept my students for who they are and not for who I wished they would be. I stopped resenting them for being who they were.

2. What are you doing well that you wish others would do?

Celebrate successes and strive to find ways to improve.

Develop strong relationships with students (I greet each student by name, send postcards when I see students doing well, eat lunch with students)

I observe and recognize when to change an activity, depending on mood/abilities of students(are they restless? Can they handle this activity?)

Celebrate and work with paraeducators. Give a shoutout. Ask for feedback. Treat them with respect. Communicate expectations. Problem-solve together.