They Live It
The cool teacher practices what they preach. The expectations they have for each student is what they have, and expect, from the people in their regular lives. Rules are hard to live by, especially when you are an adult and can do just about anything. The thing with these teachers is that they live by these rules. They are there for a reason of use, not just so they can be mean. There is nothing like having a rule in a class that everyone breaks, but the teacher enforces it one day out of the week, or month, or semester. (Insert anything related to dress code here). If you make the rule, you have to enforce it at the cost of losing your integrity, and mistreating a student.
The cool teachers are this way because they take the time to speak to any child that needs to have a moment of attention. They offer real world suggestions that help the student, not just the teacher. The student feels safe speaking to the teacher, knowing they may not like the results of the talk, but will get a consistent answer tailored to their needs.
The cool teacher lives it through their daily lessons. The cool teacher is ready on a daily basis to give a lesson to their students. They are able to help their students believe that, even if we aren’t doing “work,” we are still learning. There are many days where your lesson and the plan you had just won’t work. Maybe something has happened in the world, and the students are more attentive to that. Maybe there is a major thing going on that is related to your school, and your students may be a bit distracted. I realize that world events are easier to make relevant connections for discussion in a social science class, but that doesn’t mean a few moments of your time to discuss and then redirect aren’t worth a go even in, say, a math class.
Daily lessons are very important. I do believe every individual should be pushed beyond their comfort zone in some way, daily. It could be reading a blog that is against your personal view, or just listening to an opinion to try something new; there is always a point in the day where we should get to see the world in a different way. Look for opportunities for you and your students to step outside the comfort zone of your class, even if just for a few moments. Those moments outside of your comfort zone are strange, but you really can learn a lot about yourself, your students, and how important your environment is to learning in different ways.
The popular teacher lives it through their hobbies. Students know that with the cool teacher, they come first when they are in the classroom, or in an extracurricular activity. They also know that the teacher they enjoy has a life outside of education. It would amaze me, in the beginning of my teaching career, how many students thought that I didn’t do anything but teach. They were surprised that I could throw a ball, laugh at pop culture, and was somewhat human. The interesting part was, as I took a moment to be interested in their hobbies, it was easier for me to share my ideas about how they could become more successful in those hobbies by relating my interests.
During my 8 years as a Sociology teacher, we ended each semester with a talent project. This was the time where the students could bring in the items and share their talent. This was my “way” of doing really cool stuff like playing drums, riding a unicycle, falling off a long board, dropping a shot put on my toe, hitting baseballs and softballs, being a goalie, wrestling a district champion, tasting a ton of cakes, eating traditional family dishes, tossing pizza dough, listening to keyboards, pianos, singers, playing guitars, learning about SCUBA diving, experiencing hunting, and all types of other fun stuff.
This is part of a chapter from my book Rock The Crowd: How The Cool Teachers Inspire More Students, Earn More Respect, and Become Lifelong Mentors. Every Wednesday and Friday (Starting April 8, 2014) I will share parts of every chapter. Don’t forget that the shares from my first book Learning Curve are on Monday and Thursday.
Is there anything better for students than being in the class of the cool teacher? When it comes to being a teenage student, and being forced to attend school, there is nothing better than a class where the teacher is passionate about education. How do these popular teachers continue to be the sparkle in the eyes of so many children, while there are others that can’t get them to pay attention? Rock the Crowd shares the methods of those teachers that are considered cool by students, while maintaining the best relationships for valuable learning to take place. For the “cool teacher,” the front of their classroom is their stage, and every day, for hours, they give the greatest performance their students have seen to date. The crowd-rocker teaches with passion and convictions that inspire real student connections and learning that last a lifetime. These teachers are popular, year after year, while others are still struggling to learn how to relate to the students. In Rock the Crowd, I share all the things cool teachers do that make them successful in working with, and producing, successful and long lasting, learning-centered relationships. Rock the Crowd is great for teachers who are struggling to find their teaching groove and to reenergize those that are already grooving.