Hey all! This is a video that I recently came across that delivered very valuable messages to educators…
Rita Pierson, a very experienced educator, explains the importance of teachers creating real relationships with their students. Some of the comments she made really struck me, such as “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship,” “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” and “everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult.” This reminded me that no matter how much time we take into understanding the curriculum, lesson planning, the policies and procedures that guide us in our teacher, and all the technicalities behind teaching, we must always prioritize building relationships with our students. Without building relationships, there will be minimal learning occurring within our classrooms. This also reminded me of a motivational speaker, Keith Hawkins, who used to always visit my high school and deliver empowering messages. He once said, “we often do not remember what happened, but we always remember how it made us felt.” This has stuck with me over the years as it relates to just about everything, especially teaching. When I think back to all the teachers I have had, the best ones that come to mind are the ones who truly made me feel like what I brought into the class was valuable and meaningful. Rita and Keith remind us that above all else, we need to genuinely care about teaching our students in order for them to genuinely care about learning.
In this video, Rita Pierson also said, “you see, ‘-18’ sucks all the life outta ya, ‘+2’ says I ain’t all bad” when sharing a story about one of her students who only answered 2 out of 20 questions correctly on a quiz. I immediately thought that this is absolutely true. The way we speak, including the words we choose to use and the tone of our voices are incredibly influential on students. Something so simple as having a student look at what he/she did right, as opposed to only seeing what he/she did wrong, can have a profound effect on the student. Rita also discussed the effect of “seeking first to understand instead of waiting to be understood,” which I thought to be something so simple yet so valuable as an educator. I believe that if you walk into a classroom with the mindset that you can learn from students just as much as they can learn from you, you will not only create a bidirectional relationship with your students, but also create a successful and healthy learning environment.
Speaking of building relationships, I think social media is a create resource to facilitate positive relationships among the school community. In class, we have consistently been discussing the use of technology in today’s classrooms. The use of social media is particularly interesting to me, as I have never experienced learning in an elementary classroom where social media was used as a learning material. While researching for new, innovative ways that teachers are utilizing social media in their classroom, I came across a bunch of really cool websites. Here are just a few:
I’ve learned through this website that Twitter can be a great way to relay information to your students, whether it be announcing updates to assignments, deadlines, expectations, further instructions, etc. It is also a great network for teachers, students, and even parents to have discussions. Parents can easily access important information about what is going on in their child(ren)’s classrooms. Teachers can also use Twitter to post other resources, such as videos, websites, etc that are useful and beneficial for their students to look through.
This website explains excellent ways for teachers to use Facebook in their classroom. The class can create their own Facebook page where they can form an online community and share their ideas, questions, comments, and concerns with one another. Students can also use Facebook to create pages where they can conduct surveys, gather data, and make group chats. Additionally, students can make study groups where they can help one another out before tests, assignments, presentations, etc.
Instagram was one of the social media networks that I never really imagined to be useful inside a classroom. However, this website provided very creative ways to create activities that are instagram-based. Some of the activities suggested by the website are to take a picture of students recreating a famous piece of artwork, ask students to act as photojournalists at a school function, and ask students to express their thoughts and ideas through images. These are simple activities that I could imagine being very useful in today’s classroom, as children nowadays have the ability to creatively use technology in new and unique ways.
These were just a few of the many online resources out there that can help teachers incorporate social media into their classroom. I believe that social media can really help foster a community within each classroom, as it provides students with many different outlets to express, share, and communicate their creativity and ideas.