Educators are relationship builders.
My teaching career launched mid-year, at the now dismantled Bishop Middle School, in Wellston, Mo. I was hired as a long-term sub and was the fourth such teacher that January. My students quickly and unabashedly shared that I too would not last – they had “run away” three other teachers and they were confident they would run me away as well. They had no idea who stood before them. Like a battleaxe, I took a stance. It was only in my private space that the tears freely fell. Disrespect was blatant. No one seemed interested in learning. I was embarrassed by the students’ word choice. I questioned my sanity in choosing teaching as a profession. Just when I felt hope waning fast, it happened: there was a fight in the hallway. Jeff, the meanest, tallest and buffest middle school student I ever met, placed his body between me and the fighter, literally moving me out the way. Jeff was protecting ME. I had ‘em!! Yes, the disrespect, cursing, and reluctance to learn continued, but a breakthrough had taken place. Relationship was being established.
Effective instruction will NEVER occur without having a well-managed classroom AND the only way to have a well-managed classroom is to build strong relationships with the students who sit before you. They need to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we care for them.
These young people are grown now, raising their own families. We keep in touch and I credit them with a successful teaching career.
Founder, Fostering Teachers