You’ve heard it all before – teaching is all about connections.
But it was brought home to me again this week. It’s so important. The eye contact. The greeting a child by name. Asking them what they did on the weekend. The first smile.
I have a little girl at one school I go to that talks to me about my necklaces. I have a number of different coloured stones – a purple one, a green one, a piece of amber…. And that’s what she notices. And she likes to see me at the start of her lunch and find out about them. I’m not sure she gets much attention at home. And that little bit she gets from me she seems to really love. And because of that, she is really engaged in music. She loves it, because she loves me and my necklaces (but it’s true, though, isn’t it? You probably all loved a subject you did, just because of the teacher you had at some point… I adored Latin, not due to the subject, but because of who taught it.)
Because, despite what NAPLAN results and commentary will have you believe (and our less-than-perfect politicians), I don’t think that teaching is about content. I think that teaching is about relationships. You can’t really ask a child to do anything in class until you’ve built some kind of rapport with them. Why should they trust you? Why should they do what you say?
It does mean, as a teacher, you need to really give your all. You need to observe, and be totally self-less. I see teachers do this all the time. You need to be totally on your A game every time you walk into a classroom.
But if you have a class with you, following you where you want them to go, and all responding, it’s the most wonderful feeling. Totally exhilarating. I guess that’s why teachers do it. It’s why I do, anyway.