I hope you don’t have too bad a case of the holiday blues?!
While you’ve been on holidays, I’ve been doing a little bit of research amongst some students I know. I thought I would ask them what they would love to tell you, or wish that you knew. Now obviously these responses are from young people of varying ages, so take them with a pinch of salt because let’s be honest, half the time they don’t know what they really want (like the boy who said that teacher’s shouldn’t be so caring because it can get annoying, but they should care a bit…..!!)
Anyway, I hope that you will enjoy having a read through and perhaps be inspired and even a little challenged by what these young people wanted you to know as you enter into this new teaching year.
And despite lamenting your holidays, I hope that you truly have the best year of your teaching career ever, that you will remember that even though they often don’t realise it, you are impacting these young, impressionable lives for good, forever!
Thanks for all you do, feel free to send this around to all your colleagues too!
TEN THINGS YOUR STUDENTS WANT YOU TO KNOW…
One | Group work is key.
When we are working on assignments or working in class, because people work better in groups; that is why people come up with such great ideas in conferences, because it’s teamwork. Effort from all participants always proves strongest.
Two | Ensure we understand, but don’t make us feel useless in the process.
The blank face that some student’s give is the blank face of not understanding the context and we are too afraid to ask you to repeat the context again. Help us understand, simplify it, make it relevant to us and say things like, “It’s fine if you don’t understand this, it is a bit tricky and used to take me a few tries, is there anyone that needs me to come and help?” For those kids who sit at the back of the class and barely raise their hands, tell them it’s ok, encourage them to give it a go, go and chat with them one on one to see where they’re at with it all.
Three | When we talk, it helps us.
Sometimes we shouldn’t be talking, but the truth is that sometimes talking helps us get the work done. We are a sociable crew and admittedly it’s not all about the work we’re supposed to be doing, but when you allow us more freedom to chat about the topic or have a bit of conversation going while we are working it does help us.
Four | Realise that we are all different and can’t all learn or ‘perform’ the same way.
I have a chronic acute anxiety disorder so I have trouble talking in front of people as well as communicating so I need my teacher to understand that I have problems communicating to a crowd of people and to help me work through that.
Five | Be creative, interactive and relevant.
One thing I would love to tell my teacher is to be more interactive so we don’t get bored. Take yourself back to when you were a teenager and had to sit through school, put yourself in my shoes to help it relate to me. Learn about what is currently on trend and make what we are learning relevant to the society that we currently live in, make it as entertaining as you can.
Six | Patience and relationship is everything.
I thrive on relationship so if you build trust and relationship with me I will do well in the class. Screaming to get our attention is really annoying and at the end of the day is only affecting the teacher’s reputation with the students. Be patient with us. We know we are supposed to respect you, but it really helps if you respect us too, the relationship goes both ways. I think teacher’s can be a bit more understanding and patient, more open minded. Understand that we sort of struggle a bit in our study and that we are all at different places in our learning.
Seven | Bullying is real and we need your help.
My teacher’s don’t believe me when I tell them I am being harassed, they tell me off because the other students have special needs, like I should be kinder to them. The truth is that I go home depressed every night and I am really struggling. I need you to listen more. I need you to sit down with us all and help work it through and take some action. I need you to keep a better eye out for what’s going on in the schoolyard.
Eight | Don’t tell us what we shouldn’t be doing, help us see options and teach us wisdom.
It’s so annoying when teachers are always telling us what not to do. I want them to train us to be responsible adults, to help us see that we have choices and that there are consequences for our choices, to let us make our own decisions but to guide us in our decision making process.
Nine | Technology and social media is important whether you like it or not, but we need your help with it.
We need you to understand how technology and social media is important and is actually almost a ‘non-negotiable’ to our generation. The thing is, we know it can be harmful, but we also know it can be good. We need you to help us and train us better in healthy ways to use it, and model this to us too.
Ten | We need you.
If I could tell the teacher anything to help me with my study and my life, it is for them to let me know that they are there anytime I need them.
From a student who finished a year ago… “What I wish my teachers knew was how much I valued all the little things they told me over the years. Whilst the content they were made to teach was important, I feel the small life lessons they let slip every now and then, as well as helping us in our problems that went beyond the classwork, like what we want to do with our lives etc. That is what I wish I could tell my teachers; just how much I valued all those little things they gave us. They have helped shape me and shaped how I approach life. This is the biggest thing I took away from school and the most important thing that has stuck with me as I look back. Their teaching me the life skills and life lessons was far more valuable than all the classwork” (Although let’s be honest…the Maths and English certainly helps!)
One gorgeous boy when asked what he would want to say to his teacher said, “I would just say to keep up the good work and thanks.”
So, to all of you teachers, we salute you. Thank you for all you do!