99.999% of helping a high school student is basically letting them know that you really care about their success and who they are as a person. In a high school classroom, it can be chaotic sometimes. I teach business and my student population is diverse in many ways. Academically, culturally, racially, socio-economically, religiously and more. This can present a huge challenge for a teacher.
In reality, diverse classrooms are a huge opportunity for a teacher!
I personally get excited when I have diversity in the classroom. The reason being that I can learn so much from my students. A teacher has to be humble in order to learn from students. I have to give up some control. I have to ask questions. Most importantly, I have to listen. A few interesting things I’ve learned from students in my tenure as a teacher:
How difficult the process is to become a citizen of the United States of America
Academic intelligence isn’t everything
Students are stressed out for many reasons beyond homework
Students often don’t want others to know they are smart
How strong many students are just for living life with the cards they were dealt
How we all need to learn and understand implicit biases
How much they actually care - which is a lot
How we can improve the educational system
Understanding the neurological development of the brain is essential as a teacher
The differences and similarities of the world’s religions
What it is like to have parents who don’t speak English
What makes a great teacher
School needs to happen outside of the four walls of a building more often
How we need to teach them to use their phone and not be used by it
How much we are all alike in our search for happiness
I sometimes admit, I have a love / hate relationship with teaching. It is an extremely demanding profession. The moves from class to class. Learning about 150 new students a semester. Being there for so many in need. It is truly difficult. When times get tough in the school, I remind myself that I have the privilege of learning all these things about my students while I get paid. I get to understand each new generation as they walk through the halls and attend classes at the school I work at. I get to see a lens not many people can see.
It all begins with me letting each students know that I will learn as much from them as they will learn from me.
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