When I started student teaching I was nervous, uncertain, overwhelmed and so excited! I had a really fantastic mentor teacher and I knew that everything would be okay and I would learn a lot. At the same time there was a lot of new stuff to learn and get comfortable with. I remember feeling so young and thinking that if I didn’t seem ‘old’ enough or ‘professional’ enough that the kids would try to walk all over me. I knew that classroom control was the most important thing. I knew (and know it even more so now) that without solid discipline it would be hard to teach content and academics.
I watched my mentor, I worked with small groups, I started taking over the class one subject at a time. All the while I was trying incredibly hard to be professional and a good authority figure. In an effort to achieve that I became a boring person with no personality. What I mean by that is my students didn’t know me at all. I wasn’t giving them a chance.
As time passed I learned to find a better balance. I learned that kids respond really well to knowing their teacher as a human with likes, dislikes, fears and passions. I started telling little stories about my life that tied into our lessons. I let them see into my life and learn about my family, hobbies, etc.. My worry had been that if I let them see me as a person I would not be seen at being in charge. What happened was exactly the opposite! They began to relate to me. They started to see that we had things in common! They realized that if I was willing to share then they could trust me and share as well. As all of those wonderful things began to unfold I realized I was also having more fun!
Now here we are 6 years later and I feel like a completely different teacher from the scared, personality-less student teacher. My students now know me REALLY well. They know about my favorite foods, the time I felt the most scared, they know the names off all my family members and which ones make the best cookies. They cling to the little details I share. They love to feel connected to me and know that I am a person too! Let your kids know you. Your students and children are dying to know the little details that make you who you are.