Why You Shouldn’t Share Your Views With Students
In this day and age, it’s easy to get distracted by what’s happening in the world. So many controversial issues and differing opinions.
So much anger and vitriol.
But for the sake of your students, it’s best to set it all aside the moment you walk into your classroom.
Yes, it feels good to share your frustrations and opinions. You’re in an influential position. And yes, you may feel strongly that your students need to hear what you have to say.
But it’s a mistake.
It’s a mistake not only because your views are just your views, but more importantly, you don’t have time. Education is their way out. It’s a bridge to their dreams. What’s best for them, then, must be paramount, above and beyond anything else.
Great teachers have a fire under them, an urgency to provide the skills and knowledge students need before it’s too late.
They do this by focusing on just three things.
You must be an expert in your content area. This is the only way to arm your students with the intelligence and wisdom to understand the world they live in.
It’s the only way for them to acquire the reading, writing, thinking, and motivational skills to earn a degree or learn a trade, make a living, and contribute to their community and family.
It is through hard work and challenge that students develop the confidence and self-worth to form their own opinions and develop strong healthy working relationships with people of all ages and walks of life.
The focus on content – both in the training of teachers and its place in the classroom – has fallen by the wayside. It has been for decades but has dropped precipitously in recent years.
Developing your students academically is your primary job. It solves and eliminates a world of personal and societal ills. But you must have a deep and comprehensive knowledge of your subject area.
You must be able to read, write, and speak off the cuff about the intricacies, tensions, history, important figures, and impact of your field on the world. It’s the key to being interesting and drawing your students into a love of learning.
Accountability in school is dying, and with it goes kindness, empathy, respect, and politeness. The behavior of students without accountability is growing more alarming by the day.
And yet, we allow it or make excuses for why it’s happening.
Yes, many students don’t have any discipline at home. Many have grown up with thousands of hours of social media influence and the glorification of wealth and crime.
But this underscores rather than excuses the importance of having strong accountability at school and in your classroom. Learning that they’re responsible for their behavior through sometimes hard lessons can be – and is – life saving.
Yet, we give in. We appease. We cowardly look the other way, which all but guarantees a difficult and tragic future for our students.
To be an effective teacher today, you must be tough-minded. You must care enough for your students to make the hard decisions. You must do the right thing for them even if they don’t understand in the moment.
This entails having unwavering determination, a classroom management plan that works, and the will to follow it calmly and dispassionately no matter the cost.
Although related to accountability, keeping your students safe from bullying, threatening, name-calling, violence, and the like is a critical part of your job.
You must supervise vigilantly and protect your students’ right to learn and enjoy being in your classroom. You must anticipate and read body language. You must keep your classroom peaceful and devoid of excitability.
You must build trusting and influential relationships.
But most important is avoiding these problems altogether by creating a safe haven for your students through strict adherence to your classroom management plan.
Learning from you is their job. A great education is their payment. Yet, many students have no understanding of this. They don’t even know what their purpose is for being in your classroom. Nor the tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent on their behalf.
They don’t know the incredible gifts and benefits afforded them. They don’t grasp the vehicle of opportunities and attainment of dreams big and small right at their fingertips.
They don’t know because all of the talking, interrupting, disorder, chaos, and stress drown out your wee little voice and influence.
Thus, you must be the guard at the gate, willing to stand bold and fierce, facing and turning away every threat to mental and physical well-being. You must be strong and undaunted enough to say . . .
“Nope, not happening. Never, ever on my watch.”
Them, Not You
You’re a leader and role model.
But you’re not a friend. You’re not a cool youthful semi-adult hoping to impress your students or push your self-righteous ideas and beliefs upon them.
You’re a teacher. And although having fun and a good laugh with your students is a wonderful way to build rapport, this is serious business. Schools are failing. Scores of students are falling through the cracks.
Your job is to provide your students with knowledge and skill in your expert content area, and then let them form their own views and opinions based on their developing intellect and growing understanding of the world.
No matter how vociferously you believe you’re right, or those who disagree with you are evil, don’t do it. Don’t share or opine or wear your politics on your sleeve.
You don’t have time.
For it drops students further behind and makes them more helpless and dependent. It makes them less confident in themselves and more confused than ever about their place in the universe. It deprives them of learning.
Instead, be a great teacher. Know your stuff cold. Take ownership for everything that happens in your classroom. Be a stickler about follow through.
And most of all stand sentry, protecting your students from anything that threatens a true and transformative education.
PS – Here at SCM, we welcome disagreements. However, comments that are meanspirited or misrepresent the article above will not be approved.
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