Rita Pierson, a teacher of 40 plus years, heard her colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” To that Pierson replied, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” In her TED talk, Pierson quoted James Comer saying, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” Pierson spent her time telling educators that every child needs a teacher who takes the time to respect and believe in them. I know, it sounds corny, like those little motivational sayings you find on Pintrest saying, “Believe in Yourself”, but this is way more than about believing in yourself. Pierson’s point was to believe in your students, to create meaningful relationships with them so that they can learn. Meagan Olivier Hall, is a science teacher in Minnesota, who also gave a TED talk (I know another TED talk, call me crazy). Hall spoke about building relationships between the parent and teacher so that the child can learn. I’m sure Hall would most definitely agree with Pierson, that children need a relationship to learn, but she went one step further and said that children would learn even better if parents had a relationship with the teacher. Hall’s revolution came when she had her son. After giving birth to her own child, she realized that every single parent cares significantly about their child. From here she realized that if teachers and parents care so much about one child, a connection should be made, the two should work together and be in communication for the success of the student. Hall gave some pro tips at the end of her speech. One in particular stood out to me: to send a small message to one parent each day, a good or bad comment, just one thing to make a connection and let parents know that teachers care.
So you see we as educators have a job to connect, to create meaningful relationships with our students.I am excited to create meaningful relationships on the very first day of school using autobiographical narratives. I will pay close attention to what students enjoy and what they don’t particularly like. I think meaningful relationships can happen when people challenge one another, either they push them in an area they excel in, or they challenge them with assignments that they’re not so good at. Either or, I as a teacher will create meaningful relationships by challenging my students because I believe they can do it. I will also choose to get to know parents by sending a short email to one parent a day, letting them know how their child is doing in school.As a teacher, I am excited to see significant learning occur because of the significant relationships that are built in the classroom.