As I returned to the classroom last week, I’ve reflected on interactions I’ve had with students as I seek to get to know them and help them get to know me. As educators, our interactions with students are critical in building relationships, modeling appropriate communication, and establishing connections that encourage students to strive for greatness.
One negative experience a student has with an adult can undo a lot of good and be very difficult to overcome.
Throughout my 20+ years in education I have come to believe:
- All students should be treated with dignity and respect.
- We should speak to and treat students as if their parents were right there with us.
- If we wouldn't say it in front of their parents, we shouldn't say it in front of anybody else.
We must remember that our students are not finished products. They will make mistakes and disappoint us. However, it is important that we continue providing them a consistent, encouraging environment every day.
It is possible to maintain high expectations and hold them accountable while extending both love and grace.
The magnitude of our mission is great. May all of our students feel like they matter and have value when they’re around us.
Doug Dunn has over 20 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher and administrator. After ten years of serving in multiple administrative positions, including elementary principal, junior high principal, athletic director, and superintendent, Doug returned to the classroom this year to reclaim some of the joy in education that cannot be replicated in the office. He currently teaches high school algebra and coaches girls basketball at Steelville (MO) High School. Doug can be found on Twitter at DougDunnEdS.
This post was originally published on August 28, 2023.