What would you say is the most important characteristic of a great teacher? Listening skills? Passion for the job? Or perhaps friendliness and approachability?
For many, it is the ability to communicate effectively. But this isn’t limited to the words coming out of your mouth – communication is about about when you say it, how often you say it, who you say it to and what your actions are saying.
So, if you want to communicate better, here’s 4 things you should be saying.
I want to be here
Even the most enthusiastic teacher doesn’t want to be at work from time to time. Along with the pressures of the job, we’ve all got to contend with the trials and tribulations of daily life too.
However, if you can show in some small way that you want to be in the classroom, at least once a day, your students will greatly appreciate it.
This can be as simple as warmly greeting your class in the morning with a smile or commenting about something they did well that day. Not only will this help your pupils see they are in safe hands, it also shows that you will fight their corner and assist them in the future.
I want you to be here
Even though the use of praise is hugely effective in the classroom, you should also encourage students to express themselves and demonstrate their value. For example, ask children to offer their opinion and inform students when they’ve exceeded your expectations or taught you something new.
Everyone, not just children but adults too, long for a sense of belonging in order to thrive. No matter how you help students realise they are welcome and valued, from a smile to a wave, make it a part of your daily routine.
I have faith in you
There’s bound to be numerous times in the classroom when students will find the work you’ve set them challenging. This is when you should show faith in their abilities and tell them its achievable.
It can be explicit or implied, through continuous verbal reinforcement, or through your own perseverance. Many students will be reliant on a confidence boost from time to time, so recall and discuss previous moments when they’ve managed to achieve something by applying themselves.
You may even need to step outside of your role as a teacher, which should garner even more respect, as students will realise you’re just like them.
We are in this together
The student-teacher relationship isn’t a case of you and me – it’s a case of we. This places you alongside your class in the learning process, which is extremely beneficial for students who find direct instructions challenging.
If you’re struggling to communicate ‘we’, consider sitting alongside a child when supporting them or have a go at the work itself. This will show your students that the work is enjoyable, relevant, and above all else, achievable.