there was this teacher…

Mr. Matt Meyer and Kennedy Hoffman

Mr. Matt Meyer and Kennedy Hoffman


It is the beginning of a new school year. Students have squeezed every last drop out of summer vacation that they possibly could, while teachers busied themselves preparing for the new onslaught of to-do lists, lesson plans, homework assignments, and the list goes on. For many teachers, the beginning of a new school year brings with it anticipation, excitement and healthy dose of anxiety. So many questions run through their minds as they prepare for that first bell to ring:

What kind of students will I have?

What kind of parents will they have?

Is my room ready?

Am I ready?

While these concerns are valid, it’s important not to lose sight of the main focus of any new school year, the students. Many students are just as anxious for this year as their teachers. It’s crucial in these first few days for teachers to determine what the culture of their classroom will be. It is within this short period of time that students receive answers to many of their own concerns:

Am I safe?

Does this teacher like me?

Will he/she believe in me?

Will I get along with the other kids in the class?

For anyone who has been to our CBD Instructional Learning Center, you’ve heard us stress the importance of relationships. It won’t matter how well you’ve planned your lessons if your students don’t feel safe and valued in the classroom.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

The role of a teacher is pivotal in the lives of students. Teachers have a window into the day to day lives and interactions of students, that parents do not have. In some cases, a teacher might be the only positive adult interaction a student may experience this year. Which is why it’s so important to bring your best every day. Your students aren’t just looking to you for the answers to an equation, they are looking to you for encouragement, approval, direction and validation.

In an interview with Educational Leadership, Rabbi Harold Kushner stated: “Often I will read about someone from the most unpromising, circumstances—inner-city, ghetto, drug family, single-parent home…and the child will have grown up to be a star athlete, a successful politician. or a doctor. The reporter will ask, ‘How did you get to be who you are?’ And the answer will always begin with the same four words: ‘There was this teacher.’” (Scherer, 1998,p. 22).

It’s up to you to determine what type of year this will be, not only for you but for your students as well.

Why not make it a great one?

“No significant learning can occur without significant relationships.”

-James Comer Yale University.

We’d love to hear from you! Please share in the comments below about a time when a teacher positively impacted your life or the life of someone else you know.


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