I was just thinking today that the most influential teachers in my life might not even have been considered “good teachers” by the standards many are judged by. Think about it. If you are a long time out of school, do you really remember so much about their subjects or even often their teaching methods. You remember the good and the bad. And many people I know, even well into their 50s and 60s still have the ability to get worked up over remembered injustices of their childhood. People remember if you are nice, and people remember is you are unfair.
In my teacher training, I remember a quote that our teacher shared with us. I don’t remember who originally said it. But it basically stated: They may not remember what you say. They may not even remember what you do. But they will remember how you made them feel.
Now that’s a lasting impact. It matters how you treat people. It is the values that you live by.
The focus is often so much on academics. Our students need to know they are loved. They need to know they are valued. Yes, they need quality teaching, but your methods won’t matter if you can’t connect with your students. And even the worst of methods can be effective with a passionate and caring teacher. The teacher matters more than the methods.
Believe in your students. Believe they can thrive. And love them. Because when they know that you care, they will strive and often amaze you. But fear and threats and punishments will only breed resistance.
I hear of too many people who talk like students have to be forced to learn, like they are in battle with their students. Teach the way you would like to be taught. If you are bored, your students will be bored. If you bring your enthusiasm and love for the subject, your students will respond, and if you can’t do that, then why are you teaching?