How to be a Teacher who Leads in the Classroom

Teachers are always wanting to insure that their students like them. They strive to provide interesting lessons each day and hope that the students will be motivated to learn and achieve. The challenge for teachers becomes linked with balancing friendliness, trust, and kindness with discipline, accountability, and expectations.

Students can mistake a friendly teacher attitude as favoritism and believe they are not as valued as other students in the classroom. Awkward situations can arise between a teacher and a student whenever there is a feeling that the two are friends thus leading to misunderstanding and mistrust.

Teachers must be aware that technology can provide outlets for students that can link the two as “friends.” Facebook and MySpace enable students to communicate with teachers and begin to believe that the teacher is someone who is “cool” and interested in their personal lives. The risk can be quite high for teachers and may lead to serious consequences.

Create a Friendly Classroom Environment

Teachers who are leaders will provide a learning environment that is inviting and that feels safe to students. As soon as students walk into the classroom, they should feel a friendly atmosphere that will motivate them to do the daily tasks set before them. It is a matter of creating a setting for the students that supports successful completion of learning tasks and a positive relationship between teacher and students as well as within the student group.

One way to create this environment is to greet the students each day. This can be done by starting the class with a simple good morning or hello. Some teachers use an anticipatory set at the beginning of each lesson to insure that the students are ready to learn and listen. Organizing the lesson with a beginning and ending sends a message to the students that learning has a purpose and that the teacher wants to see each one of them enjoy the experience in a positive way.

Communicate Well With Students

Paying attention during lessons is a very significant skill needed by all students in order to be successful. Teachers can become frustrated whenever the assessments completed by students indicate that learning was limited or did not occur as they had planned. Behavior issues can also arise that distract from what a teacher may be presenting in class.

One important key to successful student outcomes is linked with communication. Teachers must examine their methods of communication whenever they are analyzing the progress of the students. If there is a disconnect between the teacher and the students, eventually there will be a different teacher identity which is no longer being the leader of the students.

Stay in a Positive Mode While Teaching

Whenever students are asked why they liked a particular teacher, usually the answers will be linked with the fact that the teacher was interesting and caring. In order to provide a friendly classroom environment, teachers must exert every effort to teach with a positive mindset and face the challenges that arise with a commitment to insuring the best possible for each student. Challenges could be many during any given school year. However, it is the responsibility of every teacher to search for answers and to work towards providing learning as the positive that occurs in the classroom.

Providing daily praise to students will help portray that positive. It is significant that teachers understand praise must be appropriate and applicable to the specific situation. The problem becomes when the verbal praise is misconstrued by the student as saying the teacher likes him. This can lead to the mistaken identity of being a friend to the student rather than a leader whose goal is to motivate learning. Teachers must praise the efforts and the actions rather than the student personally. Whenever the teacher states he liked the way in which a student handled a challenging situation, that student then has the opportunity to feel encouraged and be motivated to continue the same positive behavior.

There is a fine line that has been drawn between teachers and students when it comes to the relationships in the classroom. The roles of teachers are clearly linked with promoting student learning successfully and helping students find the best strategies to reach their academic goals. When teachers create friendly classroom environments, communicate clearly with the students, and remain positive whenever helping students find solutions, the opportunity for learning is endless.

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