Tips for Reaching and Interacting with Students


teaching students, it is unfortunately often easier to label a child as a "problem child" or say things like "he comes from a troubled home" when explaining learning problems. This is easy, because rather than making an effort to nurture and understand the child, you can simply wash your hands of the responsibility of the child. However, this does a disservice to the profession of teaching and, more importantly, to the child.

Below, you will find some tips for reaching all of your students and creating a better learning environment. Ultimately, many of these tips are things that you, as a teacher, should do and have your students follow by example.

  • When addressing an adult, make sure the student uses "Yes Sir" or "Yes Ma'am." Merely nodding or saying "OK" is not good. The reason for this is several fold, but it helps set the bar early for respect. This is to say, students know going in the level of respect that you expect.
  • Make eye contact with your students when speaking and teach them to do the same. If someone makes a statement during class, make sure to turn in their direction to acknowledge their comment. Again, respect plays a big role in this, but it is also a sign of confidence and is very important in the "real world."
  • During class discussions, make sure to not only listen to each students response, but also address their statements whenever possible. For instance, using the students name, state whether you agree or disagree and why.
  • When pointing out a students error, try to use the Oreo Cookie Method whenever possible. An Oreo cookie is made up of two cookies, with a white filling. In this case, the filling is the complaint or mistake the student has made and the two outside cookies are two things the student does well. Start your statement with something the student does well or something the student is right about, follow it up by the problem you are having(the icing), and then end it with something else the student does well.
  • Try to always show good sportsmanship and make sure to identify and commend students who "win" or do something well.
  • When making small talk with the students, always try to return their questions with one of your own. For example, if one of the students asks about your weekend, make a point to ask them about theirs as well.
  • Allowing students to grade one another papers can be an excellent way to build confidence and personal relationships. However, it is important to protect against cheating. Make sure that the students only mark questions that are wrong and do not make any other marks on the paper. Also, inform them that changing the persons grade will result in their grade being changed by the same amount and make sure to follow up on this promise, by periodically checking the graded papers.
  • Make a point of remembering your students names and expect them to do this as well. This is especially important for strangers and visitors to the class, so require the students to address all visitors by name.

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