There is a reason why acclaimed teacher Ron Clark continues to grab headlines teachers rarely get. It’s not just about his energy and passion (although that clearly helps) and it has very little to do with his standardized testing scores (although I’m sure they are really impressive).
It has to do with his ability to connect with his students by taking their interests and passions and giving them a pride of place in his teaching approach. By letting your students know that what is important to them is also important to you, it forces your students to think of you as different to the standard teacher who has seemed on a different wavelength and of a vastly different era. It makes them listen to you more and gives far greater scope for forging the connection necessary for the kind of progress teachers yearn for but often miss out on.
I advise all young teachers to share their passions and at least try and appreciate your students’. It may just be the catalyst for a successful year.
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