I Want to Be the Teacher That They Want Me to Be

This first three days of school are in the books. And. They. Were. Awesome.

I have two amazing groups of kids this year. They are eager and kind and appreciative and funny and quirky and all the things that I would want for them to be. It makes me feel like I should be working even harder because these kids (all kids, really) deserve so much from our year together.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the plans that I had for these first few days were quite different than the plans I had in years past. One of the most powerful uses of our time together in the first few days came from their answers to the question, “What kind of classroom do I want to live, learn and grow in this year?” I asked the kids to think about what they hoped that the other students in the classroom would do and I asked them to think about what they hoped that I, as their teacher, would do in order to help them to become the best learners and the best people they could be. The answers the kids gave made me wish that I had started asking this question years ago!

And as kids got together to share their thoughts and as groups began to formulate visions for our classroom that they presented to the class, I found myself wishing and hoping and promising that I will do everything that I can this year to try to be the teacher that they want me to be.

And you know what amazed me the most? What they want is fairly simple. And still, I was left thinking about how easy it is for us, as teachers, to let them down.

So, from the mouths and minds of my students, here is what they want from me as their teacher:

*They want a teacher who listens to them.

*They want a teacher who asks them what they think about things before making decisions for the classroom.

*They want a teacher who makes them think.

*They want a teacher who helps them to find great books.

*They want a teacher who smiles a lot and laughs a lot.

*They want a teacher who doesn’t give lots of meaningless homework.

*They want a teacher who doesn’t make them sit in one spot for a really long time.

*They want a teacher who lets them take breaks when they need them.

*They want a teacher who introduces them to new things.

*They want a teacher who will encourage them to do things that they aren’t sure they can do.

*They want a teacher who is kind.

*They want a teacher who is patient.

*They want a teacher who teaches them at their own pace.

*They want a teacher who will help them when they are struggling instead of getting frustrated with them.

*They want a teacher who doesn’t embarrass them in front of the class when they do something wrong.

*They want a teacher who helps them to do their best.

That’s it. They didn’t ask for much. They didn’t ask for me to give them parties all the time. They didn’t ask for me to let them play games all day. They didn’t ask for me to never make them do any work. They knew that those things wouldn’t help them to become better learners and better people. They didn’t ask for anything that isn’t exactly what our students should receive from their teachers.

And so, I will keep these words close to my heart this year. I will also keep these words clearly posted on our walls, so that I will see them often and remember what these precious kids want from me. And I know there will be days when I will not be all of these things for them. On those days, I will apologize and ask them to give me another chance. On those days, I will take a step back and read this list and remember how simple these requests really are. On those days, I will promise them and promise myself that I will do better tomorrow. Because that is what they deserve.

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3 thoughts on “I Want to Be the Teacher That They Want Me to Be

  1. How inspirational! I love how you plan to keep them posted and keep yourself accountable. You are giving your students voice not only in their classroom but in their teacher and the way they are taught. You are setting the standard to be honest, real and trustworthy. Leading by example!

  2. I love that you recorded those thoughts so you can go back to them throughout the year . . . kind of like a road map. I’m so glad that the start of you year was a strong one. Empowering kids is a great path to take!

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