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Educator’s Back-to-School Advice to Peers: Be Interesting

Educator’s Back-to-School Advice to Peers: Be Interesting

Taylor Meredith, a Chicago-area teacher in 12th year in education, gives some back-to-school advice to her peers in a recent SmartBrief blogpost.

This year, Meredith encourages her peers to integrate their outside interests into the classroom to better engage students.

According to Meredith, she learned in her experience that in order to make authentic connections with students, she had to be an authentic person which was done easily by not trying to separate her personal life from her work as people routinely do.

"When I first began teaching, I often kept all non-education curiosities separate from my life as a teacher in the interest of being professional. I hate to admit, but sometimes I would even choose generic interests in order to forge connections with students. My students picked up on that so connections made were superficial. Knowing that relationships have to come first, I knew I needed to make a change. I slowly began showing interest and curiosity in things,” she says.

Slowly but surely, she found that “[m]any of my non-education curiosities found a place within our classroom.”

"I love storytelling and music so we created a pop opera, where we experienced the Revolutionary War by re-writing pop songs from the perspectives of key players.”

In sharing some of herself with her students, they in turn began to share more about themselves, too. A genuine connection began to happen.

"We built a stronger community of individuals, and yes, they even performed better on assessments. Students were connecting to one another more, not because they liked the same things, but even better because they recognized the interests of others,” she says.

"They were different yet they were thinking about one another, asking questions, showing empathy, interest and support. And finally, I was so excited to get to work everyday. I was more curious and aware of what was happening in the world around me, noticing things that I thought each student would be interested in or might want to discuss.”

Meredith challenges her peers to follow in her footsteps this school year.

"If you aren’t sure what fascinates you, be transparent in the journey to find out. Share your interests, be curious, explore what fascinates you. Listen, read, discuss and encourage students to do the same. Become a community of interesting learners.”

Read the full post.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

8/23/2016

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