August 26, 2022
I start my 36th year in education (28 as a classroom teacher) and below are the lessons I have learned hanging out with teenagers for so many years. Here are my 36 lessons from my 36 years in education:
- Learning their names early matters a great deal to the students.
- They know if you care. They have very fine-tuned BS detectors.
- They don’t care what you know until they know you care.
- Have fun!—Being a teenager is hard—very hard.
- Give much grace because being a teen is hard.
- But still hold them accountable—Though they may complain—if you hold them to a high standard, they will thank you for it later—really!
- Listen! Really listen to your students!
- They are awesome if you take time to listen.
- Always tell the truth—unless you are doing a magic trick…
- Ask them about their lives outside of class—in fact, know something about them so you can ask how the (play/game/match) was.
- Laugh with them.
- Cry with them
- Never allow students to mistreat each other—you MUST deal with mistreatment right away.
- Never mistreat a student.
- Always believe the best in your students and they will start to believe the best in themselves.
- Set lots of things on fire—even yourself! (Note: I am a chemistry teacher).
- Let them light each other on fire (with stringent safety protocols).
- Students learn best when they are doing science (choose your discipline)—not hearing about it.
- They notice everything! What you wear, if your fly is down, what music you listen to—everything!
- Always check your fly or button before class!
- Go to the bathroom before school—You never know when you will be able to have a break to pee.
- Too much cognitive load is bad.
- Not enough cognitive load is bad—there’s a fine line.
- All students don’t learn at the same pace—find a way to accommodate all students.
- Give students multiple opportunities to prove what they know—One test should not determine their grade.
- Emphasize learning over grading.
- I am not the grader-in-chief—but rather the learner-in-chief.
- Most students need deadlines as some of them will opt to not work if given the choice.
- Learning happens best when they have time to process.
- Down-time in the summer is critical to my effectiveness during the school year.
- Let the little things bounce off you.
- Don’t get hung up in school politics.
- Hang out with positive teachers—You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
- Tell your students to hang out with positive friends—Tell them they are the average of the five people they hang out with the most.
- Have a life outside of school.
- Most #EdResearch can be summarized: Active Learning + Relationships = Good Teaching.
Do you have any more “lessons?” I would love to hear from you!
This post was republished from Jon Bergmann’s blog, Mastery Learning Simplified, August 15, 2022.