Here are the last 20 of my top 100 beliefs about teaching and education. Today's beliefs are about teacher's attitudes and responsibilities. To read all of them, check out the Teaching & Education Beliefs.
- In order to raise a new generation of thinkers, teaching should encourage kids to question, even it is means they question you. During my lessons, I teach the kids to question me and the world around them; we should not keep doing things just because we always have. If we do that, we never grow and evolve. Our job as teacher is not to think for them, but to teach children to think for themselves.
- If you focus on a child's problems, all you will see is problems. If you focus on their strengths, you will see their gifts. Teachers consider kids problematic or gifted depending on what they focus on.
Teaching is not about what we give our students but about what they choose to take. We spend too much time giving our students information and too little teaching them how to absorb it.
- Ronit Baras
- Teachers are very giving creatures. They want to teach their students as much as possible. But they do not make sure the kids are ready and able to absorb it. We need to teach our students to be active learners, they need to participate in their learning by taking the information using it.
- "Perfection in education" is an oxymoron. Perfectionist teachers only teach inadequacy. There is a difference between perfectionism and having high standards. Expecting highly of the students is important and usually gets more out of them. Perfectionism is expecting too much of students and making them feel bad when they do not succeed.
- I do not expect my students be like me. There are many different ways of learning and mine is just one of those. My students do not have to be the same as me. For example, they do not need to like coloring in just because I do. They need to follow their own desires and gifts. It is never a threat to me if they learn better in a different way.
- Teachers are like gardeners. A strong plant will be there forever so as a teacher, I need to be careful about what seeds I sow. Every belief is a seed; it can grow flowers of confidence or the poison ivy of inadequacy. I need to know which one to plant and which to water until it blooms.
- Teaching is the best way to make a difference. When I was in high school, I was part of the school council. I asked one of the teachers who worked very hard with us, “Why are you working so hard, there are only 5 of us?”. He replied, “If I make a difference in the lives of the five of you, and you make a difference in the lives of another five kids, and they make a difference in the lives of another five, the world will be a better place”. I thank him every day!
- Telling kids I have made a mistake makes me a powerful and confident teacher. If I am not afraid to show my mistakes in public, I am a good role model for growth.
Not everything in life is beautiful and easy, but everything holds a lesson - a message of encouragement or a warning. When circumstances speak, all you have to do is listen.
- Ronit Baras
- It is my job to teach kids that we can learn from bad things as well. It is important to learn from things that are unpleasant, instead of expending all our energies on them. As teachers, we need to encourage kids to ask the question, "what did I learn from this?" Wait patiently for their answer. You might be surprised by it.
- Carl Yung once said “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child”. This philosophy helped me greatly in my teaching.
- Teachers are like sculptors (much like Pygmalion). They mold their students in their image using the self fulfilling prophecy. As a teacher, I must be aware of my beliefs, thoughts and values for they will be reflected in my students' heart.
- Bi-lingual kids are at an advantage because they have more synaptic connections in the brain. I strongly encourage parents who speak a second (or even third or fourth) language at home to keep doing. I encourage the kids to speak their 'other' language proudly and be happy they have an advantage over everyone else.
- Kids who play a musical instrument are at an advantage. Music to stimulate the brain. I am not a music teacher and do not know how to play any musical instrument but I encourage my students to sing, make music, play music and listen to music as much as I can. Most of my lessons have background.
- Labeling is only good when it is positive. Giving a label is only positive if we call students things like wonderful, smart, friendly, able, hard working, determined. Any other, negative, labels should be hidden, like putting them at the back of a T-shirt, so no one can see them, especially the child themselves.
- Teachers should be paid more than the president because they are the ones who teach all the presidents.
- Professional development is not for accumulating hours to fulfill teaching registration requirement. It is in order to learn and evolve as a teacher we I never lose track of what learning is.
Rules are meant to give kids a sense of certainty, safety and security, rather than to give a sense of control to their socializing agents.
- Ronit Baras
- In my class, regardless how old the students are, I am clear about the rules and boundaries of what we are learning and my style of classroom management. I found it gives students a sense of security and understanding of what they need to focus on.
- Teachers are storytellers. They tell students stories of motivation and inspiration. They hope that their students become the successful characters of one of those stories.
- Each kid is an individual. Never treat a child as a number. Definitely never say something like that to their parents. Every parent wants to know his/her kid is special to you. Make sure every kid is special to you.
- If kids come from a problematic family, it is not their fault. Often times it is not even their families' fault. They probably need you more than kids that have happy, supportive, healthy and wealthy families. Never say “I am just the teacher”. Teachers have a social responsibility to compensate, just a bit, for what students are missing at home.
Join me next time for the last chapter of the 100 empowering beliefs. I hope you will find some new ideas to support or strengthen some of your own beliefs.
This post is part of the series Teaching & Education Beliefs:
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: Where They Come From
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: I Am an Educator
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: Use Your Power
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: Think Ahead
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: Attitudes & Responsibilities
- Teaching & Education Beliefs: Caring