By Teachers, For Teachers
Teachers are known to be inspirational. I’m sure you have all heard the stories from some celebrity or another that they are who they are today because of a teacher and his or her teaching strategies.
However, it doesn’t mean that every student that passes through your door is going to have a life-changing experience because of you. It’s hard 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 assessments and tests but does that truly show all the facts?
With a little online research and by asking a few colleagues, I have come up with a few signs that will ensure that you, through your teaching strategies, are genuinely making a difference in your students’ lives.
The students who never wanted to raise their hand or talk are now coming of of their shell and feel comfortable enough to participate in class. All of those teaching strategies like giving the student space, making them feel part of the team, and giving them jobs to do have worked.
When you have parents volunteering endlessly, then you know that you are doing something right. All of that parent-teacher communication has made the parents want to be a part of their child’s education and you are to thank for that.
An effective teacher knows that when students ask a lot of questions that they are using their critical thinking skills. These skills of inquiry, extend learning and lead to even deeper thinking. When you notice your students asking a lot of questions, you know that you are doing a good job.
When you are excited to come to work each day and share your craft with your students, it shows them that you are passionate about your subject. It can be hard to show excitement for the same subject day in and day out, but if you are creative and really love what you teach, then your students will see that. Your passion will help create excitement in your classroom, which will lead your students to a bright academic future.
Anytime a teacher can make a real-world connection to her subject matter, it will make a powerful impact on his students’ lives. By helping students see and connect what they are learning to what is relevant to their lives, it will show them how important what they are learning really is.
One study asked students, “What did a teacher do to make a difference in your life?” Students indicated that it was when their teacher gave them encouragement, which in turn gave them confidence that they would succeed academically. When you take a personal interest in each one of your students, chances are they will have a greater chance of success in their future.
I always love that my son wants to bring cupcakes for his birthday to his kindergarten teacher. It shows me what a profound impact she had on his life. I also love the fact that in my daughters’ classroom there is a senior in high school who is taking time out to go back to her kindergarten teacher’s classroom to get mentored.
If you’re not convinced from the signs above, then how about listening to what research says? Studies show that students who come from expert teachers show better achievement levels, and have a higher understanding of concepts learned. As long as you consider yourself an expert in your field, then you know that you are making a difference in your students’ lives.
We have all had our dark days, and teacher burnout is a real thing that happens too many of us. But, rest assured that you are making a difference in lives of each and every one of your students. Remember, that you are a constant in many of your students’ lives, and that alone can make a significant difference.
How do you know that you are making a difference in your classroom? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to hear your comments.
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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.