Here are my important points for teaching as inspired by Planning to teach from A to Z By Vicki Davis.
T is for Tolerance
It is important to teach tolerance of differences. When someone is different, many see it as someone to pick on. We need to get past this attitude and teach our students to embrace differences. Whenever I find a story, novel, or movie that emphasizes this attitude of tolerance, I use it in my classroom.
U is for Understanding
Sometimes we have to dig deep to understand why our students act the way they do. We can’t take their actions at face value. Their defiance or oppositional behavior may be a defense mechanism or a reaction to some frustration so we can’t always assume that they are spoiled rotten or just bad. We need to look for the cause of this behavior which takes time. Sometimes it is easier to react to their behavior rather than take a step back and try to understand why they are acting this way. I think in the long run if I take time to understand their actions, we all benefit overall.
V is for Value
It is important for all people to feel valued. This means that I value my students, my colleagues, and even my administrators. Many times we come down hard on administrators for the decisions they make but we have to realize that they are looking at the big picture. Sometimes my colleagues irritate me or I disagree with them but I need to remember to value their opinion, their knowledge, and sometimes listen to them because I can always find something to learn from them. Even my students are valued because I learn a tremendous amount from them. If I stop thinking about how much I can give to them and look at how much they give to me, it is truly amazing.
W is for Wait
Wait time is important. Too many times I want to jump in and give a student the answer rather than listen to that empty silence. While waiting, I see others jumping up and down out of their seats or yelling, “oooh oooh pick me!” Instead I need to allow the student I asked time to process the question and come up with the answer. When the students realize that I will give wait time, they aren’t so flustered into hurrying up with any old answer. I feel this gives everyone more quality instruction.
X is for Xray
Many times my students believed I had xray vision and it is alright for them to think that. When I see a student doing something, sometimes I turn away before I say anything. This makes them think I saw them with “eyes in the back of my head.” This also keeps them from misbehaving at times and let’s face it, it is just fun when they think that!
Y is for Yesterday
Let yesterday’s bygones be bygone. I let each student start the day with a clean slate. We talk about this in class. Sometime we act certain ways because we started off the day wrong or we had a problem at home. Things happen during the day that make it rough. Then we come in the next day and we have a fresh new start. We leave yesterday in the past. We don’t hold grudges.
Z is for Zeal
You have to have a passion for what you do. You have to truly believe and enjoy teaching to get the most out of it. Sure, you will have some rough days, and some downright bad days but that is life. Your zeal will help get you through those times. This will help you feel that it is all worth it and you won’t regret a minute of it all your life. After 30 years of teaching special education in public schools, I look back and I realize that I truly loved it!
Image: 'Successful integration / Gelungene Integration'