Wouldn’t it be great if every student could feel special? Well, with the right teaching strategy, they can. It’s all about creating an effective learning environment that feels warm, welcoming, and supportive.
If you’re thinking of earning your teaching certification and entering the classroom, one of the most important skills you can have is the ability to make all students feel safe, welcome, and liked. This is true whether you want to be a preschool teacher, kindergarten teacher, elementary school teacher, or high school teacher. Studies have shown that strong teacher-student relationships can positively affect academic outcomes.*
So, how can you make all your students feel special and engaged? Here’s a checklist to follow.
To make every student feel equally supported, you must first make sure you’re not treating some students better or worse than others. The best way to do this is to set clear behavior guidelines and apply them consistently. If you don’t allow talking without a student raising his or her hand, you need to enforce the rule, even if a shy student finally speaks. Conversely, don’t punish a talkative student who, while getting on your nerves, is following the rules.
Chances are, no matter where you teach, your classroom will be diverse. In order to make every student feel wanted, you need to make sure you’re teaching in an inclusive manner. The stories and people in your teaching materials should reflect the ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural diversity of America. Plus, you should familiarize yourself with all your students’ cultural norms and traditions to ensure you’re relating to them in a way that makes them feel respected.
All your students should feel as if their grades are a fair reflection of their effort and academic performance. While multiple-choice tests can create an even playing field for some assessments, you’ll likely assign essays and projects, too. To make sure you’re being fair when grading anything that lacks an answer key, you should create grading rubrics. With a rubric, you can provide your students with a detailed explanation of how you’ll measure the quality of their work. By following the rubric when you grade, you’ll help ensure you’re being objective and fair.
Individual attention is important in creating a strong teacher-student relationship. You should endeavor to make your students feel comfortable about approaching you, whether it’s during or after class. By being available, you are sending the message that all your students matter and that you want them to succeed.
It’s easy to get caught up in the demands of lecturing and grading, but you should take the time to pay attention to your students and your own attitude. Do you have students who are struggling more than usual or are withdrawing and no longer participating. If you notice such changes early, you can intervene. But it’s not just your students you need to remain aware of. You should also strive to be self-aware, noting your personal biases, aversions, and habits, and adjusting the way you approach any given student to ensure you’re not playing favorites or neglecting anyone.
If you want to become a teacher who knows how to help students excel, consider a BS in Elementary Education. Not only can this teaching degree prepare you for teacher licensure, it can help you gain the skills you need to become a highly effective educator who fosters students’ intellectual curiosity and promotes healthy development and learning.
If you’re currently working and are unsure if you have the time to earn a bachelor of science degree, you should take a look at online education. Earning a BS in Elementary Education online means no driving to campus and no taking classes at specific times. Instead, an online bachelor’s program allows you to learn from home using a flexible learning platform that lets you attend classes whenever works best for you. What’s more, an online program like Walden University’s BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) gives you a glimpse inside different classrooms, providing you with teaching strategies to help ensure you are meeting the needs of all students.
Certified teachers capable of inspiring students at the kindergarten and elementary school levels are needed across the country. An online teaching degree can set you on the path toward becoming such a teacher.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
*J. Lee, “The Effects of the Teacher-Student Relationship and Academic Press on Student Engagement and Academic Performance,” International Journal of Educational Research, on the internet at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883035512000389.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.