With a dedicated, knowledgeable teacher, appropriately pedagogically prepared, any child can learn anything when motivated. This ability hinges on a teacher’s preparation and commitment. I believe children are capable of doing anything. They may not readily produce such results on their own, but with the guidance and support of a teacher who is ready and willing to help, students who might otherwise fall short can reach their full potential.
I really believe that a teacher should accept the responsibility for what happens in and around the classroom. Everything that happens in the classroom happens because the teacher set it up that way, either purposefully or unintentionally. In order for a teacher to be effective, she must take on the opinion that students are misbehaving because of conditions she set. Because there are so few controllable variables, focusing on those that can be controlled is far more effective than focusing on those that can’t be controlled. The teacher’s behaviors, beliefs, and actions are some of the few things that she can control.
When children come into my classroom, I greet them with high expectations. To subject them to anything less is cruel, brutal dishonesty. It is not fair to stand in front of a room of students and teach them something one does not believe they can learn. They may not recognize this subtle mockery, but they will dislike and be disrespectful toward a teacher who behaves in this fashion. Children live up to the expectations of the adults who care for them. If a teacher expects failure, he or she will be “rewarded” with failure. If one believes a student is capable of anything, that teacher will do whatever is necessary to ensure the student’s success. It is my job to do just that; to push myself every day to reach every student.
Not only does belief in a child’s ability go a long way, but a little motivation never hurt, either. Students are much more likely to put forth the effort to learn something that appeals to them. While a school shouldn’t be a three-ring circus every day, there is definitely some merit in bringing the information to the student. Anticipatory sets at the beginning of each lesson help grab the attention of the student and open a doorway through which the teacher may enter to impart knowledge. Far more motivational than any juggling act, though, is a relationship built on trust. Really hearing a student when he or she talks and behaving in manner that allows him or her to believe that they can trust you with the details of their home life is one of the easiest ways to build that relationship. Refraining from sarcastic comments to belittle students’ abilities and attempts seems like common sense, but when this behavior isn’t common in a student’s educational career, being the teacher with whom their confidence is safe will do more to promote attention and effort than any BrainPop video, kahoot game, or Socrative quiz. Ultimately, behaving like I honor my students' spirits and believe in their abilities is my highest calling.