By Teachers, For Teachers
How do you know that you’re actually making an impact on your students? Is it when you see them acing your tests? Or is it when you see a student undergo a personal transformation? It’s hard to use classroom management to measure your worth as a teacher, and to truly know if you are making a difference in the lives of your students. You can see though classroom management assessments and tests, but does that truly show all of the facts? Research shows that it’s ultimately what students bring to the table that truly makes a difference in their achievement. Students account for 50 percent of the variance of achievement, while teachers account for about 30 percent (home, schools, and peers account for the rest). It’s what teachers know, do, and care about that helps to make a difference in the lives of their students. After doing some digging and talking to some expert educators, I’ve come up with 10 classroom management signs that can help you know if you’re making a difference as an educator. Here’s what I’ve found.
When you’ve been teaching for a number of years, it’s hard to stay interested in teaching the same material over and over again. However, expert teachers know how to let their passions shine through into their lessons. They find a way to incorporate what they love and they share that with their students. When students see that their teacher is excited about what they’re teaching, then they too will be excited about what they’re learning.
Once you see that your introverted, shy students are thriving, you’ll know that you’ve made a difference in their lives. When the students who never wanted to raise her hand or talk in front of their peers is now coming of of her shell and participating in class, you know you were a part of something great.
As you know it’s not always easy to get parents to participate. However, when you have parents eagerly volunteering to come in to help, then you know that you are doing something right. That classroom website, weekly newsletter, and parent communication app that you may use has made the parents want to be a part of their child’s education, and you are to thank for that.
When you’ve received a compliment from a student, parent, fellow teacher, or even the principal on how well you’re doing, then you can give yourself a pat on the back because that shows that you’re making a difference at your job. Take that compliment and hold onto it because you can use it to remind yourself anytime you’re feeling burned-out from your job.
When students are actively participating and asking a lot of questions and not just yelling out answers, then you know that they’re using all of the skills that you’ve taught them. These skills of inquiry are leading to deeper thinking which is all thanks to you. When you notice your students asking a lot of questions, then you know that you are doing a good job.
If your students are able to come to you and tell you that they’ve made an outside connection to what they’re learning inside of the classroom, then you’re making an academic difference in their lives.
If you’re excited to come to work each day and share your knowledge with your students, then you’re passionate about your job. Sometimes it can be hard to show animation and excitement when you teach the same subject or material day in and day out, but if you’re creative and really love what you do, then your students will see that passion. That passion will then in turn help create excitement in your classroom, which will ultimately lead to a successful and bright academic future.
Expert teachers know that making real-world connection to their subject matter can have a powerful impact on their students’ lives. By helping students connect what they are learning to what is relevant to their lives, shows them how important what they are learning really is.
If you practice patience, and are kind and encouraging, then at the end of the day you can rest assured that you have made a difference in someone’s day. Whenever you take the time to have a personal interest in each one of your students, then chances are they’ll have a greater chance of success in the future.
If you’ve ever had a past student return to your classroom to visit you, then you’ve made some sort of impact on that student. When someone takes the time to go out of their way to see you, then you know that you’ve made a difference in their lives.
If you’re not convinced that you’ve made a difference as an educator then maybe you’ll listen to what research has to say. Studies show that students who come from expert teachers show better achievement levels, as well as have a higher understanding of concepts learned. So as long as you consider yourself an expert in the field, then you know that you are making a significant difference in your students’ lives.
How do you know that you are making a difference as an educator? Please share your classroom management thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to hear your comments on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.