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Teaching the Teacher: What my Students have taught me.

Teaching The Teacher

Teaching and learning is the root of education. The two words go very well together. However, we often employ the phrase to suggest that we as teachers are doing the teaching and that it is only the students who are doing the learning. I dread to suggest it but I can imagine that for some teachers (I am picturing them with mortar boards) that is the way it is. Many teachers value the ability of children to teach the teacher.

Teaching the teacher

From multiple discussions I feel that is not the case for the vast majority of educators. So as suggested by Emma here are some of the things I have learnt from my students. This is particularly important for NQTS.

What I have learnt from my students.

1 – To be open minded.

2 – That to invest time in building a relationship is worthwhile for both the teacher and the pupil.

3 – That if you show and interest in their lives and listen to what they have to say you show you value the child.

4 – Even the students who appear engaged in you lessons have worries and concerns.

5 – To never pre-judge a child, labels and low expectations can hold back children.

6 – That a diagnosis of SEN does not describe the child’s needs or personality

7 – That stereotypes are harmful.

8 – That empathy is a two-way human connection.

9 – How to slow down and notice what is happening around you.

10 – That my reactions can determine a child’s future

11 – That school may be the child’s safe place (and if not we should strive to make it so)

See also  Teacher autonomy in the classroom

12 – That we should not attempt to put academic targets over wellbeing

13 – To never heed a child’s reputation.

14 – If you are enthusiastic about a lesson, your students will be too.

15 – If you are not prepared to listen don’t expect others to listen to you.

16 – Behaviour does not suffer if you relax and have a bit of fun!

17 – Student choice (and voice) must be meaningful

18 – That you will be surprised (constantly)

19 – That high expectations are essential.

20 – To work with parents.

So if you work in a school how do you embrace “teaching the teacher” in your practice?

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  1. “That my reactions can determine a child’s future” is a lesson all teachers learn. For those of us that have been teaching a long time we will be able to recall things we could have done or handled better or differently. Our earliest pupils have grown up now and in my case some have become parents very early on, one died in afghanistan, others went on to follow such a range of careers and had very varied life experiences, good and bad. If we are to be honest with ourselves we’ve all made loads of mistakes over the years, my biggest teaching regret being a school I left and really regretted the decision soon after. I learned during my pregnancy of one of my pupils in the same situation when I saw her name on the midwife’s list. I wished I had been there for her.

    We can forget what a privileged, special job we have as teachers amongst all the hustle and bustle and selfish politics between some staff. All our actions and words are important and they do impact on the future of the kids we are blessed to have in our care.

    My best ever teachers turned out to be my pupils. I love every single one of them and can only thank them for teaching me more than I will ever be able to teach them.

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