1. Know them as Learners:
Now don’t shy away from this because it sounds obvious. Really, the idea behind this point comes as two key notions. First is that utter trust and belief that you should have that each of your students are genuinely interested in learning. And even more importantly they are actually VERY interested in learning about themselves. All educators should see their students in that light… And be sure to provide their students with opportunities not just to learn about the curriculum, learn about their interests but most importantly – to learn about themselves.
2. Know them as Contributors;
In the 13 years of teaching across all grades and panels I have yet to meet a child that does not genuinely want to contribute in some way. They may seem resistant to you but I would challenge every educator with the question: What opportunities to you provide your students to contribute? And how often?
More important than providing the opportunity to contribute – take the time to show them that their contributions are valued. This will eventually lead to the coveted ‘risk-free’ environment that innovation and creativity so badly need to thrive!
3. Know them as Relationships.
By far the most important factor in learning has less to do with content knowledge as much as it does the relationship between teacher and student. Though last on this list it is absolutely the most important. It is also last on this list because it is very hard to achieve unless you have provided opportunities for them to learn about themselves as well as opportunities to contribute.
You see, regardless of your personality type, your learning environment will foster a growing relationship because of a respectful, risk free environment in which your students will thrive. Your students will find themselves drawn to your teaching and most importantly they will be drawn to you.
Having sat through a 5 hour long pitch at Microsoft last Friday, I ached to get myself home. Mentally exhausted I had slowly suffered through a morning of missing the mark (this being the 3rd attempt) by a corporation that seemed to be drinking its own punch. I did say hours and yes the morning was tough on the presenter, but it was 30 minutes before noon when the clouds opened and two educators came to speak with us. The first made the same mistake as his corporate counterpart and did not know his audience. The second came in with great credibility and personality. These traits coupled with real educational application of the Microsoft products began to change a very cynical group over to the other side.
1.”Oops! Your Bottom Line is Showing..”
Microsoft – like all other corporations including D2L, Blackboard and Apple continue to make the single most embarrassing mistake when they pitch to education: they simply don’t know their audience. No presenter worth their salt would ever stand in front of audience and share information without knowing where to take the audience.
2. But, But, But I’m a Teacher Too!
Despite corporations’ best efforts they prove that they have no true understanding of curriculum, it’s extensions and the creativity that flows from it. A teaching certification fails to give the account executives even a remote understanding of what teachers need from any software.
I tend to chuckle when I hear the words “Oh but I’m a teacher too..” Yet they have either no experience or have retired! Both situations fail to see education for it what it really is in 2013: an ever changing paradigm that you’d never understand unless you’re in the field present time. So no.. a certification does not buy any credibility when it comes to teaching.
3. I Have All This Money… Now Where is That Mouth of Mine?
Most peculiar is the corporations’ failure to make teacher consultations through contractual commitments a part of their education scheme. Teachers like any other profession can always stand to gain from professional consultations financially and the corporations can gain the insight they so sorely need. The third party training by certified teachers is a model that utterly fails and proves to be an embarrassment over and over again.
Bottom line: if your product improves my students’ quality of education – I will always approve…period.