Know Your Students!

Although students nowadays are tech-savvy and use social media constantly, their needs are no different than they have ever been. They want to be loved, they want friends, and they want to be included. Things around us change constantly but the emotional and social needs of children remain the same.

The football players at Alabama play their hearts out for Nick Saban because they know he loves them. Not just as football players but as people, as young men who need a mentor. And he is that mentor! They would run through walls for Coach Saban.

As Nick Saban explains, “In life, your road map is knowing what you want to accomplish then committing yourself to doing the things necessary to reach that destination. You cannot get there without hard work and perseverance.”

Children learn for their teachers who love them, who want the best for them. The teachers who get to know their students, who build a relationship with and care about each and every child, will be the most successful in getting their students to master the material. Getting to know your students does not mean just at school. It means knowing what kind of home they come from, what are their needs, and do they play soccer on Saturdays? I have told teachers, go to one Saturday soccer (fill in the sport) game and that student knows you love them. They will run through walls to please you.

With technology, staying in touch with your students and getting to know them is easier than ever before.There is not only e-mail, but you can chat and Zoom with them. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how to better use technology. There are ready made platforms on the market in which to accomplish your goals with your students.

One example of how to stay in touch is Along.org. This website says,

“Help each student feel seen and understood.

Along is a free digital reflection tool that makes it easier for you to check-in one-on-one with each student.”

It is not another way to assign homework or assessements. It is a convenient way to stay in touch with your students, learn about their hopes and dreams, and do it on your time table. Direct the students’ reflections before, after, or during class. Post and schedule questions and replies anytime, anywhere.

“Along is packed with research-informed reflection questions designed to help students build life skills. Get tips that set you up for success from day one.”

Teaching and learning is a very complicated process. It is as emotional as it is mental. Let’s use technology to our advantage. Use your time wisely and efficiently. If you don’t like this platform, search another. There is always more we can do to help our students.

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