Teach Like a Parent: Show Them the Love
How can principals and other administrators can help new teachers avoid burning out? Make it absolutely clear to new teachers that their number one priority must always be to show students compassion and caring – and to share their own love of learning.
Many of us have seen the recent video of a Success Academy teacher berating a student for an incorrect answer and ripping up the student’s paper in disgust. Here is a link to the video if you have not seen it:
The sad fact is that this type of scene is all too common in schools of all kinds and in charter schools in particular. The relentless drive toward higher test scores has left teachers feeling a palpable pressure to show student progress above all else – and the price that is paid is in student social emotional health and a passion for lifelong learning.
Evidence of this over-emphasis on data is in student stress surveys that show that students are overwhelmed with expectations and workload. If students are burned out, their teachers won’t be far behind.
So what is the alternative?
We should train potential teachers to “teach like a parent” – to see each student as an individual with unique strengths and weakness that go beyond performance on traditional tests. Our training should not ignore the importance of social emotional health in education.
Teaching like a parent means:
Teachers should treat students challenges and strengths as human elements that should be respected – not overcome or brow-beaten into submission.
Our teacher training should emphasize ways to connect with students in meaningful ways so that students see their teachers as trusted friends and not just an impersonal guide in the learning process.
Technology should be used in the classroom judiciously to insure that blended learning does not produce even more student alienation. Technology should employed in ways that increase student engagement and help all students to learn – but not all the time and not without reason.
In other words, we should train our teachers to be a little more like parents, to see the best in our students first, and to consider their thoughts and feelings as well as their learning – and to understand that every student will learn at their own pace and in their own individual style.