Recently a student of mine sent me a link in an email with this title….

” This teacher made me instantly think of our class 🙂 have a good holiday”

He was talking about this post http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/features/10296-A-Different-Kind-of-Teacher

Where Cari talks about the relationships she has formed with her students by having a common interest and my student was making the same point. Telling me that I have formed an interesting classroom for students to come in and learn. If you have read my previous posts you will know of some of the ways I have done this but there is lots more when I think about it. What are they, well I will tell you and see if you do something similar. 

1. Youtube Frday: In my class when the students have learned(worked) well during the week I reward them with a twenty minute session allowing them to watch a YouTube clip I have seen recently. It can range from something amazing to something highly hilarious but I usually try to have them entertained. For example look up Virtual Barber Shop and put a set of headphones on! This makes them interested in what we are doing during the week because my students know that they will get a reward at the end of the week. (nb. they dont always get a reward)

2. Interesting examples: Try teaching SQL and QBE to seniors. It is a dry boring subject and they get over it very quickly. To motivate them I try to find the weirdest clips from the internet on the subject. What happens is two things……1. They look at me with a weird look and then start laughing 2. They subliminally remember the video when being examined! Its like when I tell you “Don’t think of an orange….Don’t think of its texture…. Don’t think of a sunset…..you can’t help yourself and so can’t students. A bit of reverse psychology doesn’t hurt anyone especially a hormonal teenager!

3. I froth: Froth is a term to describe you being stoked! Everything that I try to do is exciting. No Matter What! When I stand up in front of students I am excited to be doing it. No Matter What. I believe that if I am motivated, they will be. For example: I teach year 9 databases first term every year and I start by saying “I love Databases” and by the end of the course the students do too. I know because they tell me in their evaluations. 

4. I am interested in them: When my students speak I listen to what they have to say. If they are frothing, so am I. This does lead to side tracks but then the students use self discipline to get the learning back on track. I once missed a entire senior class because I miss read my timetable. At the end of the lesson the students came and saw me and explained that I wasn’t in class. I asked why they didn’t send for me and they said they didn’t want me to distract them from getting their work done! (I am a distraction?????)

Lastly, I let them play. The other day a student was meant to be completing his database project and when I was wondering around the room I noticed he was on Mindcraft on his iPad. When he saw me coming he quickly switched it off and began working. I said to him that I am not that sort of teacher and that if he wanted to take a break and play Mindcraft during a lesson it was fine by me. If he had the self discipline to get back to work and complete the project work assigned then feel free. I’m not an ogre but I can be if you don’t learn!

So this is what my student meant when he sent me that link and I dont blur it. What I mean is I have seen teachers blur this relationship. They become students friends and then when a student crosses the line they then cancel the relationship. My son came home from school just before Easter suspended because he threw a grape at a teacher. When we dug down into the reason why he did it it was because he had formed a teacher student relationship that was too friendly. The teacher had a nickname that he encouraged students to call him and he actually called kids names. A bit of friendly banter…….in my sons case he jokingly called him a retard. Then in the playground the banter continued until my son threw a grape at the nicknamed teacher. The teacher didn’t like it, went and reported my son and the next minute my wife gets a phone call saying he is suspended. We are yet to have the return meeting with the school but I will CALMLY explain the circumstance of the suspension so that blurring never happens again.

Thanks for reading.

Andrew

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