Today, I was reminded of the importance and satisfaction of building teacher-student relationships. Before I taught my lesson in the last period, during literacy, I was able to sit with 4 students while they worked on an assignment about their novel study. I enjoyed working with these students on a more personal level, and was able to establish a relationship with them because we had meaningful conversations. They valued my help and I valued their willingness to learn. This was an encouraging moment, and by doing this, my interaction with those particular students was reinforced throughout the day based on our communicated earlier that day. I believe it crucial to take time to establish this with every student in a class. In my own class, I may have around 25 or more students and, I want to prioritize the idea that getting to know each and every one of these students will create a learning environment in which everyone wants to be there and want to learn, because they know their opinions and feelings matter and are valued.
I did some more group work today, and a useful management technique I found was moving around to each group constantly. Something even more effective to add is giving expectations that should be met next time I come around. For example, they had to write ideas on a poster board, and if the group was in discussion, I would stay, next time I come back, I want to hear about another idea! This gave them motivation and encouragement to move on. I think this is important because group work with grade 7/8 can lead to some irrelevant conversation, so it is important to keep them on track.
A target I wanted to work on this week was allowing students to engage in meaningful discussion. With prompts and guiding questions from myself, I encouraged students to “answer their own questions” so to speak. My goal was to challenge thinking and not just spoon feed students the answer. For example, on the subject of homelessness, students knew that one cause of homelessness could be because of job loss due to drug use. In order to get this individual off the streets, I asked my students, “this person has an addiction which is clearly effected the way this person lives. They are now homeless and jobless, what do they need?” The students were actually able to come up with a idea of support and that a support program should be put in place for individuals who suffer from this type the thing. Focusing on the target of allowing response time and critical thinking is not only beneficial for the student, but it is rewarded for me to see that students are actually comprehending what I am trying to get across to them.