Thursday, January 9, 2014

One amazing, “Gotta Have” to be successful as a teacher: Mindset

Teachers can inspire a desire for learning. They can create a need to discover. They can spark that little corner of the mind that wants to dream about what could be.  What helps the best teachers do all of this? I firmly believe that it is the correct mindset.

When you became a teacher did you really understand the demands on you to be more than a deliverer of content? Did you know that kids of all ages need role models? Did you know that they also demanded you to be a disciplinarian and at the same time caring and understanding? Were you ready to meet with parents? (Did you really think that you would never have to talk with them?) Did you ignore the very obvious fact that all kids are different and have many needs? This is why (there is much more to it but I’ll move on for now) the correct mindset is oh so important.

The best teachers know that the kids they are assigned are what is important. They recognize that every one of them needs to have some attention. They develop plans around instructional strategies that engage the kids’ minds. They think a little different. They think with a creative voice that encourages them to take chances. They see the school building, fields, neighborhood, the web, the world as their classroom. They are constantly looking for ways to make the children exclaim…I get it!

 When a child pushes back, the great teacher doesn't take it personally-he sees it as a challenge to try and reach that child.  He doesn't give up. He schemes and plans to drag the kid into the world of learning. He doesn't strike back with rhetoric or sarcasm. He becomes a sculptor determined to chip away at the marble walls that that kid has erected to reveal the child within who truly is eager to learn.

Do you have the mindset that will let you be Indiana Jones leading the kids on an adventure of learning? How about Ms. Frizzle taking the kids on another unique field trip?! Come on, maybe you wish you were the greatest scientist ever or the most amazing philosopher (You don’t have to really dress the part just think as if you were these characters.) Working with kids is one of the greatest challenges but it is also the most rewarding! Come on you know that you have experienced that moment when the flames ignited.  When the light bulbs came on! When you reached that most perplexing of all kids! But you must have the mindset that sets you free to develop the lessons that engage. You “Gotta Have” the mindset that will let you inspire the children to imagine, explore and discover!