You became a teacher to make a lasting difference in the lives of young learners. One of the best ways to have an impact is to create a positive, encouraging learning environment in which students feel cared for and supported. Here are six tips on how to do so:
Develop good student relationships. Be friendly and upbeat. Treat your students as individuals. Ask questions about their lives to get to know them better, and encourage them to get to know each other as well.
Build good school-home connections. Your relationship with parents is important, too. Send home an email and/or note early in the year. Let parents know how to reach you, your expectations and plans for the year, and how much you are looking forward to helping their children grow this year. Invite any input on how their children learn best and how you can make this year a great one.
Put your trust in your students. Give them a say on certain decisions. Set your expectations and rules and then let them know that you believe in their ability to hold themselves accountable.
Guide your students toward discovery. Don’t give them the answers. Pose the questions, and then invite them to solve problems. Offer encouragement every step of the way, but put them in the driver’s seat when possible. Have them explain concepts to each other and to you – and congratulate them when they figure things out on their own.
Make students feel like valuable contributors. Everyone’s ideas matter in your classroom, and everyone deserves respect. Encourage students to voice their opinions and offer their input and thank them for being brave enough to do so.
Share why you love your subject. There’s nothing quite as convincing about why a subject is interesting as a passionate teacher. Don’t be afraid to tell your students what you enjoy about different subjects and why learning got you excited when you were their age.
A positive learning environment will get your students fired up about learning. Take steps to make your classroom a nurturing, comfortable place, and your students will reap the many benefits.