Teachers set the tone in a classroom and can affect children's lives in profound ways.
by Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Regular contributor to the Gazette
May 1, 2008
Teachers set the tone in a classroom and can affect children's lives in profound ways. What teachers do and say encourages or discourages their students. When teachers model acceptance and caring for all children, the students are likely to follow their example. The resulting classroom climate is conducive to children's growth and development. Children thrive when teachers:
Sincerely like them and believe in their worth
Are dedicated to helping children learn
Are enthusiastic about teaching and inspire their students
Are prepared, consistent and firm
Provide a nurturing, safe environment
Accept themselves as imperfect and freely admit to making mistakes
Model fairness, honesty and dependability
Listen carefully and give recognition freely
Are sensitive and respectful of children's individual differences
Provide an opportunity for children to help formulate classroom rules
Help children feel important by allowing them to make choices
Have clear, high, reasonable expectations for children's work
Acknowledge children's efforts and successes no matter how small
Stress that it is okay to make mistakes because they are a natural part of learning
Avoid threats, sarcasm, favoritism and pity
Focus on solutions to problems rather than on punishment
Teach children how to solve their problems peacefully by listening to each other and by compromising
Provide opportunities for children to encourage and applaud one another
Involve parents or guardians as partners in their children's education
Invite them to dream, share goals, and to think of themselves as being successful
Used by permission of the author, Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website [www.kellybear.com]. 9/01
Leah Davies received her Master's Degree from the Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, Auburn University. She has been dedicated to the well-being of children for 44 years as a certified teacher, counselor, prevention specialist, parent, and grandparent. Her professional experience includes teaching, counseling, consulting, instructing at Auburn University, and directing educational and prevention services at a mental health agency.
Besides the Kelly Bear materials, Leah has written articles that have appeared in The American School Counseling Association Counselor, The School Counselor, Elementary School Guidance and Counseling Journal, Early Childhood News, and National Head Start Association Journal. She has presented workshops at the following national professional meetings: American School Counselor Association; Association for Childhood Education International; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Child Care Association; National Head Start Association; National School-Age Child Care Alliance Conference.