Don't Be Afraid To Be Who You Are!

Halloween 2Throughout my time as an educator, I have learned that being yourself and bringing that into your classroom is very important. Let me explain what I mean by being yourself. We are teachers, yes, but that does not completely define who we are. We a life outside of the classroom. Unlike what some students think, we don’t live at the school. We are people with families, friends, and hobbies. Now I’m not saying we should share every detail of our personal lives with our students, please refrain from that actually. What I am saying is that it’s important for our students to know that we have lives outside of the school day.                        

My reasoning behind all of this is because in my experience, it has helped make connections with students. As teachers, it is very important to have positive connections with students. If they respect you, if they like you, they will work for you, they will behave for you. If your students find you even somewhat interesting, then you are able to draw them in and keep them engaged during class. Keeping that fine line between sharing too much and not sharing enough is important to remember though. Let me share some examples of how I’ve brought my non-teacher self into the classroom.

I love to travel and I’ve been to a few places within the last couple of years. Two summers ago I went on a camping trip in Alaska and fell in love with the state. In my classroom, I’ve hung up a giant map of Alaska. This is a perfect visual that tells the student something about me and it can be a conversation starter. Last year I also went to Costa Rica and brought back coins, so I did a math lesson with them. I also hung up a sign in my room that encouraged students to write down places they’d like to travel and post it on the wall. Through sharing some of my hobbies and interests with writing prompts and math lessons, I’ve also learned more about my students’ hobbies and interests.

So, it is okay to let your students know that you are a person outside of your teacher role. It is good for them to know that you have a family, friends and hobbies because they might find you have more in common than you think. There doesn’t need to be a lot of detail and you can choose what to share, but it is important to let them in at least a little bit. You’ll realize that you will begin making connections and students will show interests in the things that make you, you.

By - Courtney Boisselle, ELO HUB Teacher