Be empathetic and take care of the needs of your students. That is the unwritten (and most important) role of the teacher.
“The kids will learn in spite of all the mistakes you make.’
When students know you care, they will work hard for you and will be more willing to accept your redirection when needed.
Care is in the eyes of the receiver. Care doesn’t exist unless those being cared for truly experience it.
In Pedagogy of Hope, Paulo Freire (2002) explained, “I do not understand human existence, and the struggle needed to improve it, apart from hope and dream. . . . I am hopeful, not out of mere stubbornness, but out of an existential, concrete imperative’ to transform the world.
Research has demonstrated that when educators focus on assets, rather than deficits, student success increases (Rios-Aguilar, 2010).
However, they recognized that focusing on academics alone wouldn’t be sufficient to prepare their students for flourishing lives; learning to respect another’s perspective, communicate in different social settings, and persevere in the face of challenges were just as significant as academic performance.
These culturally responsive 5th grade teachers held high expectations and assisted students in reaching them. While refusing to accept anything less than students’ best efforts, they provided supports.
The teachers in our study insistently communicated–through their attitude, tone, and demeanor–that what we’re learning is important. There’s not a second to waste. This sense of urgency didn’t stem from a desire to control or dominate students.
As these teachers’ practices show, culturally relevant critical teacher care is more a verb than a noun. It’s tied to concrete action–not simply feelings or words.
When I read these articles, they get me excited to teach well, and with my whole heart. I am reminded of what my acting teachers would talk about- “Commitment is the key”. The best actors commit 100%, they throw their whole mind and body into the role they are acting. They do not consider the audience an evil critic, but a partner in the game of imagination. When an actor attempts to watch themselves, they are thrown out of the world they are creating, and it becomes fake… The audience may not realize what is going on, but they are aware that something isn’t quite right- that the actor hasn’t given their all.
I think there’s a truth that is carried over to the realm of education- your audience is the class, and if students sense you holding back, critiquing yourself or them, they are unwilling to give their all as well, To a small degree, a classroom is a world that the teacher and students create together. Some students hold back because of fear, some hold back because they don’t understand the world being imagined together. Some hold back because their body or mind is so tired they just can’t participate in holding that world together…
I particularly appreciated Jennifer Collins’ reminder that there are no perfect lessons. I know this is true from my own experience- sometimes the lesson I planned for a day doesn’t work because the students had an earthquake over the weekend, or an emotional earthquake, or they just didn’t sleep right last night. Sometimes the lesson doesn’t work because I had an idea that I can’t adequately develop yet that needs more work. Sometimes the moon is full, and monsters are on the prowl…
Here is a website with some excellent management tips: