“I believe in you.”
“You can do this.”
“Your hard work is being noticed.”
“I want to help you.”
Do students believe these messages? These are all phrases or messages teachers communicate to students each day. We hope (and pray) they will believe us. Hope is not a strategy, but there is a strategy that can assure they will believe your message.
We spend hours and hours lesson planning and making preparations for the students to come to us each day. We work hard to focus on the positive and find ways to support our students both academically and emotionally. We bend over backwards and lose sleep for them. So, why wouldn’t they believe we have their best interest in mind and truly want them to be successful?
Trust-it can support or negate everything above. I believe this is best played out in how a teacher manages the classroom and deals with student challenges. If the message of expectations is consistent and upheld, then as a student, I can trust the other things a teacher says and does are also true. What a teacher “allows” speaks volumes over what a teacher “says.” For example, I set the expectation in my classroom that students will practice behaviors such as walking, pushing in chairs and helping one another. If I uphold the expectation by addressing it each and every time any student is not upholding it, I am seen as trustworthy by my students-my words and actions are congruent. If I tell a student I am going to do something-I have to follow through. If I am unable to follow through-then I will need to address the reason why with the students. Credibility is huge.
These actions and behaviors translate to the moments when a student needs a teacher the most-when they are struggling. A teacher’s words and actions can truly make a difference in a student’s day and life if they are believed, trusted and genuine. It takes work and mindfulness all the days before and after to make those defining moments happen.
What are the expectations you are willing to hold tight to, everyday, not matter who the student may be? These are what you will fight for daily to fight for your student’s who need you the most in the moments we can’t predict. Choose them wisely. Execute them with tender assertiveness and care. Trust will become the hidden key to student and teacher growth.