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Gregory & Ripski (2008) explains the effects of creating trust and building bonds with students, "A relational approach may earn student cooperation via students' impressions of their teachers as trustworthy and legitimate authority figures". Teachers must be leaders inside and outside the classroom. The teacher's role is to first create energy to trust and respect in their classroom. By creating a classroom setting that is safe and loving; students' motivation and energy towards learning is directly impacted explains Eccles & Roeser (2003), "It has been suggested that due to the developmental significance of relationships during adolescence (particularly relationships outside the family), a socially supportive school atmosphere will promote positive academic and social outcomes in young people" as cited in Linking Academic Social Environments, Ego-Identity formation, Ego Virtues and Academic Success (Good & Adams 2008). The key of a successful teacher is understanding how they became the teachers they which directly impacts student success. Student success is directly relationship to a safe classroom setting, positive relationships with students, and the desire to learn.
I believe that each child possesses the ability to be successful no matter what their environment. Each student has a unique personality that with individualized attention can find success in whatever they set their mind to do. I believe that students should be able to receive an education in an environment that is safe, and satisfying to everyone involved. It is my belief that each child possesses a spark inside them and the role of the educator is to harness that spark and create energy (desire) of the student to learn.
Many first year educators receive advice such as "do not smile until December" and "Let students fail in the beginning, so they know they need you", Landsman et al (2008) argues, "Unfortunately, too many teachers begin their career without a tool kit full of strategies for managing student learning. Therefore, they end up disciplining students with force and threats". With this attitude educating the students of today is a losing battle. The approach educators take into their classroom regarding students can ultimately dictate the success of the students behaviorally and academically, "Educators can build better schools by knowing, trusting, empowering, connecting, and honoring all their students" (Hoffman & Lavek 2008). The proof comes from the students' success.
The purpose of education is to enable students to become successful in their lives. As an educator I must learn what is important to my students and what will help them succeed in everyday life. Taking what is important to them combined with the Georgia Performance Standards will help to create their individual success. I believe effective teachers should do this every day as well as relate all learning to the world around the students making it meaningful to them.
Relationships are not built in an instant. Time builds bonds with students. Relationships do not come over night between students and teachers, however the time spent creating these bonds nurture a successful classroom, "The time required to develop relationships with students may be substantial. However without this time, the reluctant learner may never become engaged in learning" (Landsman, Moore, & Simmons 2008). A successful school is a place where teachers take the time to learn about their students as stated by Hoffman & Lavek (2008), "To create schools that function as personalized communities of learning rather than anonymous institutions where some students feel they belong and others feel ignored, we must know our students-how they think, what they need, and what they want". Relationships in the classroom and away from academically setting have the potential to impact the students immediately as well as provide a longer last impact.
Teachers many times can create a nurturing environment or frigid classroom by the way they perceive certain students. The blame is often passed on to the student as a lack of motivation or responsibility, but the teachers may be the blame. As cited in, Reluctant Teacher, Ladson-Billings (2006) indicates that teachers who define students in such terms create a classroom environment that is no longer a place of learning and high expectations, but rather a place rooted in control and management. Such conditions will not help the reluctant learner become successful (Landsman et al.2008). Students want to feel that they are important. They want to feel as if they belong, and have a stake in what they are doing in the schools, "reluctant learners need to feel that they are heard, that their stories, their voices, their questions, and their contributions matter. The best teachers make student voices the center of the class" (Landsman et al 2008).
My goal is to make learning fun and take every teachable moment to the benefit of my students. In order to provide my students with a road map to success; I am committed to using new and innovative techniques as well as continuing to grow professionally. I will create a stimulating atmosphere wrapped with positive reinforcement, so students can grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.
Academic Achievement and Behavior
Fostering relationships where the students trust and have a relationship with their teacher lead to a well run classroom academically and behaviorally. Students who feel their environment in secure and understand the expectations are more likely to support and work for their teacher describes Stuhlman, Hamre, & Pianta (2002), "since the classroom is the setting where students perform on a daily basis, making it a more supportive environment may have more immediate and longer-lasting effects on outcomes such as behavior and attendance". Another factor is behavior problems and poor academic achievement is motivation. Students who are not motivated are more likely to have behavior issues or academic problems. Dissecting the students' interests to explore how to motivate their learning will breed a classroom where students are willing to work, "by developing and introducing such strategies, educators facilitate the building of positive relationships between teachers and students that can provide the motivation, initiative, and engagement which are essential for academic success" (Stuhlman et al 2002).
Collaboration is the next key to student success. Without the support of the parents and/or guardians and all educators involved then learning is jeopardized. Educators can not hope to achieve success without supporting one another and the support of the parents. Students can reach higher levels of learning when all adults involved in their learning help take their educational growth beyond the walls of the school.
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