Here are 20 more of my top 100 beliefs about teaching and education:
- Teaching is the business of manipulating students to think they are smart, wonderful, talented, pretty, successful, happy, healthy and wealthy. Whether we like it or not, us teachers have a lot of power over what our students think about themselves. Do not feel guilty. It is part of the job description. Just be sure to use this power wisely.
- When I am upset with my students I think of them as the cutest babies. My anger dissolves.
- It is better for students to have lunch in the company of their teacher. A 10 minute meal can contribute more to bonding than 50 hours of class time. It is also the easiest way to encourage kids to eat healthy food. Set a good example and lavish praise and attention on the kids who bring healthy lunches. This is the best kind of peer pressure in the world.
- Kids want to know about your personal life. After all, you know so much about them. Share your personal life with them. It makes you more human and less of an unapproachable authority figure. Share your feelings and how you overcame difficulties. You will be surprised at how much they will remember 20 years later.
- When kids are late in the morning, be forgiving. 90% of the time, it was not their fault. Besides, they feel bad anyway, why make it worse? Find out why they were late and tell them you understand.
- Kids are like mirrors. What you do is more important than what you say.
- Teachers often have stereotyping beliefs about boys and girls. If you can change just one child’s life by fighting these stereotypes, it will ripple into the future.
- Using force (pressure, punishment…) to make kids achieve something is the perfect way to block their mind from learning.
- School is a wonderful environment to teach kids social skills. Kids go to school for the social interaction and personal development. Academic results are secondary. The friends they make and the skills they learn will help far more in the future than what grades they achieve.
- If they do not already have friends, a teacher’s responsibility is to help kids find friends and connect with them after school.
If kids do not understand something, it is always because the grown up has not found a good way to explain it yet.
– Ronit Baras
- I expect my students to do well academically. 80% success rate is my standard minimum. If my students are not achieving at 80%, it only means I have not taught the topic properly or that my testing is not matching my teaching ability.
- A test needs to be designed in such a way that the majority of kids will achieve 80%. The 90% mark is for the kids who understand perfectly. The 100% mark is for those who can take their knowledge and implement it on things they learn beyond the class.
- I grade using percentages. I find the A,B,C marking system very limiting. The range of As is not the same as Bs and not the same as Cs. Teachers use percentages in their own recording, so what is the point of having two different marking systems?
Tests are meant to measure how well the teacher taught the subject and not how well kids can memorize things.
– Ronit Baras
- If possible, share the test with the kids before you start teaching. That way they will know what they need to focus on. The point of testing is not to show them they do not know but to help them measure what they do know. Still, you want to be able to test their understanding of the topic, not their ability to memorize the practice exam so change the questions in the final exam. For example, if it is in math change the numbers in the test itself.
- Never give lower mark on a report card to “encourage” a child to do better next time. In my experience, it only makes the child give up on trying.
- I do not like it when teachers mark mistakes rather than the correct answers. Kids learn better when you encourage them to keep doing the things they do well, rather than pointing out what they are doing wrong.
- When you are marking a piece of work, it is better to tell kids how to improve rather than saying whether it was good or not. Marking is advice for improvement, not a judgment.
Academic achievement is a side effect of strong emotional intelligence.
– Ronit Baras
- If you teach something new, give homework about it on the same day. Every new topic we teach creates a synaptic connection in the child’s brain. If the new learning is not be reinforced within 7 hours, it will dissolve. Give homework the same day!
- I learn a lot from my students. Their innocent view on life can wake me up to being trapped in a stereotypical adult point of view.
- Kids love school holidays. And I love school holidays too! I encourage them to have fun.
Join me for the next chapter of the empowering beliefs about teaching and education to find out another 20 beliefs that can help you in your education and teaching journey.
This post is part of the series Teaching & Education Beliefs: