I love twitter. I love it because I can log in at any time of the day or night and can be entertained, challenged, vindicated or otherwise. This morning was no different. I had been perusing the twitter feed and a picture was tweeted by Peter Millett, British Ambassador to Jordan.
I have been looking for some inspirational sayings to motivate my students. I teach wonderful students but have found that they need to develop confidence in themselves as learners. There are some students who need the extra encouragement and who need to build resilience. As their teacher, I feel compelled to want to provide a learning environment that allows them to be awesome, not average. I want them to understand a culture of high expectations and success can be a positive experience and that it requires them to be responsible and active learners. I won’t accept average and they’re beginning to realise that if I don’t feel they’ve done their best, then they have to do the work again. I have seen some wonderful improvement in their work. Sometimes I find myself thinking about the common complaint that students are pushed to work really hard in primary school, often exceeding expectations, until they get to high school where we lower the benchmark.
I’ve set some really challenging work for my students and have watched them grapple with the work. What has impressed me is that they have begun to have a go at the work, rather than putting up the barrier by telling me that ‘it’s too hard.’ A person’s self efficacy can really influence their approach to their studies and in turn, how they see themselves as a student. I have been continually impressed by my students, many of whom will accost me in the playground to tell me about something they liked about our English lesson or to ask me about something related to what we are studying in class. They have come to learn that I wont accept mediocrity.
Essentially in order to reject average and celebrate awesome, there needs to be trust. Students need to trust that I will be there to support their learning, to provide the instruction they need, to provide the feedback and encouragement they need in order to achieve their best. I need to trust them as well. Building positive relationships is crucial to creating a learning space that celebrates awesome rather than average.
I have been posting inspirational quotes but also interesting facts and ideas to help develop their thinking skills and to establish strategies to help them to become better learners. I am thinking of creating a wall in the classroom, where each student contributes one quote that may inspire another student. I’ve really decided to make a concerted effort to create a classroom that celebrates awesome rather than average. I have always believed in it, but feel with my current cohort of students, it is more important than ever. Will look forward to sharing further reflections. If you have found ways to motivate and inspire your students, please feel free to share.