2020 Teachers' New Year's Resolutions
4. Develop Positive Relationships
4. Develop Positive Relationships
It's a new year and as is our custom here in the USA, we make resolutions which, while often broken, can be redefined as goals toward which we should strive.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION #4
- Focus on developing positive relationships in the classroom.
Teachers are the most important in-school factor when it comes to student success in school. Out of school factors, especially those related to poverty, have a greater impact. Teachers, however, do not have any control over things like...
- prenatal care
- inadequate medical, dental or vision care
- food and housing insecurity
- environmental toxins such as lead
- family stresses
- neighborhood characteristics.
Resolution #4: Focus on developing positive relationships in the classroom.
Teaching is not a transaction. It is relational.
Teaching is not about inputs and outputs. It’s about curiosity and knowledge.
It shouldn’t be governed by market forces that dehumanize all those involved into mere widgets to be manipulated in a systemic framework. Teaching should be governed by empathy, art and science.
The driving force behind any education system must be what’s best for the child. And that “best” ultimately must be defined by parents and children.
The goal of education can never be to prepare kids for a career. It must be to eradicate ignorance, to quench curiosity, to aid self-expression and guide students toward becoming whatever it is they want to become.
Measuring learning outcomes by standardized test scores can never achieve this goal. That’s like trying to monetize a rainbow or putting the ocean in a cage.
School privatization can never achieve this goal. That’s like treating human beings like cash, like thinking the rules of football can govern architecture.
And treating teachers like worker drones can never achieve this goal. You can’t entrust a whole class of people with the most precious thing you have – your children – and then treat them like dirt.
The Ed-Debate is Missing "Relationships"
Jack Schneider (a former high school teacher and the founder of University Paideia, a pre-college program for under-served students in the San Francisco Bay Area) said that relationships really matter! He wrote What’s missing from education policy debate...
But what policy elites don’t talk about—what they may not even know about, having themselves so little collective teaching experience—is how much relationships matter in our nation’s classrooms. Yes it matters that history teachers know history and chemistry teachers know chemistry. But it also matters that history teachers know their students, and that chemistry teachers know how to spot a kid in need. It matters that teachers have strong academic backgrounds. But it also matters that they can relate to young people—that they see them, hear them, and care for them.The goal of education should be to build lifelong learners and good, productive citizens, not test-takers. Characteristics like perseverance, motivation, and self-discipline will be of greater benefit than parsing sentences or finding the greatest common factor of two numbers.
Academics are important, but it's who we are and who our students grow to be that determines our success in life...much more than the facts we know or our score on a standardized test.
Positive Relationships Make Children (and Adults) Happier!
The Evidence is In: ‘Happy’ Schools Boost Student Achievement
School climate and student achievement should never compete with each other, according to Ron Avi Astor, a professor of social work and education at the University of Southern California.Want to make your school happier? Build positive relationships with your students!
“By promoting a positive climate, schools can allow greater equality in educational opportunities, decrease socioeconomic inequalities, and enable more social mobility.”
Astor and three colleagues recently combed through research dating back to 2000 – 78 studies of school systems in the U.S. and overseas – and found substantial evidence that positive school climates contribute to academic achievement and can improve outcomes for students, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Interested in more? Read Astor's report...
A Research Synthesis of the Associations Between Socioeconomic Background, Inequality, School Climate, and Academic Achievement
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION #1
- Read aloud to your children/students every day.
- Teach your students, not "The Test."
- Educate Yourself.