I have said since I was very young that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. With that being said I have come in contact with many people that have helped move this decision forward. One person that made me love school at a very young age is my first grade teacher, Mrs. Lawhead. She had taught many of my siblings and I was looking forward to having her as my teacher. Kindergarten was a tough year for me as I had trouble transitioning into school and away from my mom. I remember walking into school my very first day of first grade being so nervous and all of my worries faded away as she welcomed my classmates and I. Mrs. Lawhead still sticks in my head today as one of the kindest and most caring teachers. She worked hard throughout the year to form and maintain a relationship with each of her students. She also made her classroom a positive environment for learning. I strive to have a classroom where students feel so good and welcomed as soon as they walk through the door just like she made me feel.
While Mrs. Lawhead is a personal educational guru for me, another educational guru that I have is Rita Pierson. I have been assigned the TED Talk “Every kid needs a champion” by Rita Pierson for many of my classes. Even though I have already watched before I watch again each time and I am so inspired. Rita describes relationship as a key component of teaching effectively. She is quoted saying “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”. She also talks about going above and beyond by keeping food in her desk for hungry students and a toothbrush and soap for dirty students. Rita shares quotes from others in her TED talk saying “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship”. She clearly believes that relationship is as important as what you teach, how you teach, and why you teach because students will not achieve their learning goals if they are not connected to their teacher. Students need to be able to talk to their teacher, trust their teacher, and not be afraid to make mistakes in order to thrive in their classroom.
A good teacher can easily by developed by learning how to teach and what to teach. However, a great teacher emerges when relationships are built with students. Teachers need to have open communication, compassion, empathy, mutual respect, and patience when forming good relationships with their students. I strive to have a classroom where time is taken to form these relationships. I want my classroom and myself to be a safe place for my students to come. I want my students to walk into my classroom and feel welcome. I hope that this welcoming feeling and safe space can then translate into a love for learning that impact my students for the rest of their lives.
Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’…