Thursday, January 29, 2015
WE TEACH PEOPLE NOT SUBJECTS
This is today's TeachThought Prompt: What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started teaching, and explain how you do it now.
I think for me and for many we become teachers and think that the teaching is the key and we focus on being prepared and knowing the material we are going to teach. That is important but it is only half the picture and the not most important part of picture. there is another side and that is LEARNING. The Learning is done by the student. Therefore perhaps more important than the material itself is how we relate to our students the connections we make with our students so that we create a connection that will facilitate learning. As I have said many time we teach students not subjects and that needs to be the focus and perhaps the hardest for many teachers to understand. It is also true that your students will remember the connection you made far longer than the material you taught them.
I want to share the following story that I have mentioned before to illustrate some of these ideas. I attended a Principals conference and someone shared the following story.
A number of years ago there was a Jewish foundation in New York that was giving $10,000 gift to excellent teachers. They had to submit a video of their teaching as part of the process. So this teacher gave his tape to his mentor ( the person telling me the story), and asked for his feedback. The mentor looked at the video but want impressed and didn't now what to do. So he just forgot about and wouldn't deal with it until he was asked. Well a few weeks went by and the teacher asked for his feedback. In the conversation the teacher was saying did you see how I was moving around the room, ad how I was using different techniques etc.
At this point the mentor understood what was going on. When the teacher saw the video he was looking at himself and his teaching and when the mentor viewed it he was looking at the students what were they doing, was there learning going on?
That was the first time I was made aware of the important difference between teaching and learning.
I think we need to put the needs of our students first and you will be surprised how playing with them at recess or asking them how their day is going or attending one of their sporting events will go a long way to making those important connections showing them that you care about them as people and that will lead to more meaningful learning as well.