12 Most Important Things Children Want From Their Teachers

12 Most Important Things Children Want From Their Teachers

Whether you are a teacher, parent, relative, boss, or fellow community member, each of us has a chance to make a positive and impactful difference in a child’s life.

But in order to do this, we must carefully consider this question:

What do you think matters most to our children?

For 20 years I have been posing this question to my students. At the beginning of every school year, I would ask my students to give me advice on how to be their best teacher. I asked them to think about the times they felt most successful and to consider what the adults in their lives did to make this success possible.

The classroom would become immediately silent as the students wrote intensely for longer than they had ever written before. Smiles would appear on their faces as they reflected on the happy experiences they were remembering. After reading their responses I would add to my list all the ideas they mentioned.

Surprisingly, many of the responses were the same. Year after year, in every grade level, content area and classroom I was in, regardless of demographics or background, students were saying the same things and had the same message: It’s the small things you do that mean  the most.  That is what they remembered. That is what mattered.

Here is a list of the 12 Most Important things that came out of these amazing conversations.:

 

1. Greet me each day

Wish me good morning, and send me off with a “see ya tomorrow.”

2. Smile

When you look at me, let me see happiness in your eyes.

3. Give me your attention

Sit and talk with me privately; even if only for a second.

4. Imagine with me

Help me dream of things I might be able to do; not just the things I need to do now.

5. Give me challenging content and assignments

Show me how to handle it. Teach me what to do.

6. Ask about me

Inquire about my weekend, the game a played, the places I go. It shows you care about my life.

7. Let me have time

Time to let things sink in. Time to think. Time to reflect, process, and play.

8. Demand of me

Hold me accountable to high standards. Don’t let me get away with what you know I am capable of doing better.

9. Notice Me

Leave special messages in my desk or locker. Just a quick not that says you notice something right.

10. Let me ask the questions

Even if they are off topic. It will show that I am thinking about new perspectives, curious, and willing to learn more. Let me have the chance to show what I am wondering about, not just what I know.

11. Engage me

I came to you in love with learning, keep me excited, keep me wanting more.

12. Trust me

Believe that I can do it. Allow me the chance. I promise to show you I can.

These words did not fall on deaf ears. I collected them, honored them, and then promised I would do everything within my power to be the teacher they needed.

What matters to the children in your life? It’s worth a conversation, I promise!

Angela Maiers

http://angelamaiers.com

Angela Maiers is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for her work in literacy, leadership and global communications. She is a consistently energized and recognized worldwide speaker greatly impacting leadership through not only the education field, but the international business community as well. Challenging educational philosophies and business ethics, Angela strives to achieve total synergy and unstoppable energy by reconstructing the thought process of many dated ideologies.

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110 comments
shingirobertin
shingirobertin

hi everyone,

me I am a student at Regis University. i am given an article to facilitate children of 12 years to understand. this is sounding more helpful to me likely about the way to behave in front of them.

thank you.

Usman Niak
Usman Niak

Hello everyone ;

I am also a student , and i am strongly agree with that . Because i got have a seem teacher like that , so that's helping me to improve myself . 

ThatSMBlog
ThatSMBlog

@geekbabe You got a mention in my newest video!

JodiOkun
JodiOkun

@geekbabe hi so glad you are here tonight #youmatter #Collegecash

JenniferM
JenniferM

I just found your post thanks to Michelle (http://literacyzone.blogspot.com/2012/02/sols-learning-and-sharing.html) and I love your ideas! Such a powerful description of what matters to kids. I'm going to print out your 12 things and put them on my desk at school. Plus, I love your idea of asking kids what helps them be successful! I think I'll do that with my students at the beginning of next year!

jcgrx
jcgrx

@BergsEyeView Reminds me of quote: children may not always remember what you said but they will remember how what you said made them feel.

nischala.murthy
nischala.murthy

wonderful post.. its indeed heartwarming to see that individuals like you exist in the academic fraternity... best wishes for the future...

BTClassroom
BTClassroom

Oh, Angela, what a true vow of "teacher commitment" that I wish we all took every day we began our days in our classrooms! At the end of my days I always asked myself one single question: "what will [Angela] remember about today? Would our children be able to answer this question with the "twelve list?" I sure hope they did! Thank you for inspiring!

AngelaMaiers
AngelaMaiers

How did I know that to be true my friend! Your students so know they matter!

Almost60Really
Almost60Really

Angela, fantastic that you put these into words to be read! And you <i>KNOW</i> I already agree. ;D

Berryed1
Berryed1

These are the things that teachers want most from administration also!

FarrahKilgo
FarrahKilgo

Great post! I've only been teaching for 12 years, but I couldn't agree with you more.

douglaserice
douglaserice

Great list! I can count on one hand the amount of teachers in my life that saw their roles as anything more than a job, but hose few teachers that did go out of their way to be an encouragement to me still inspire me today.

davidmcgraw
davidmcgraw

@AngelaMaiers To answer your G+ question, I'm not sure what specifically I would add. Big lists are tough for me to consistently focus on. I prefer to pick a couple things to always bring to the table and build from there.

I want my teachers to know my kids, to take an interest in who they are, to teach them the way they are wired to learn, and to make learning fun. Early learning experiences sets a kid up for a lifetime of loving or resisting learning.

This learned behavior carries into how we show up in life. I've written a couple of posts recently that expand upon my thoughts.

"Are you teachable? http://wevivify.com/2011/07/22/teachable/ " and

"5 keys to fostering healthy creative relationships http://wevivify.com/2011/08/31/foster-creativity/ "

Thank you for continuing to share and push these important conversations.

MaryAnnReilly
MaryAnnReilly

Yep. all 12 are important, especially #12. So appreciate that the list was culled from student responses. Such a smart way to learn. Thanks for posting this.

bdyck
bdyck

@jenclevette Did I hear you have a new job? Does that mean you won't be Tweeting anymore? (Brenda asked slyly).

QuincyTutoring
QuincyTutoring

That is a really cool way to start the year, I may have to try it. Students love it when they can contributing to the culture/dynamic of the class.

badmoe38
badmoe38

@mricheynams - This is great! Thanks for sharing! I plan on sending it to my faculty tomorrow!

samfiorella
samfiorella

Wow @AngelaMaiers . If you had my daughter the response would have been: Give me an A becuase I'm pretty. Let me eat my lunch when I'm hungry, not when you tell me it's lunch time. And let me punch the boy who won't carry my bag when I tell him to.

How do I get some of your kids?

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Hmmm, #13 comes to mind after your excellent list...kids like short, to the point, and clear - JUST as your list!

AngelaMaiers
AngelaMaiers

@gcouros hello you! Are you still in China? Great to see your smile! :-) #edchat

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