36 Rules for my 36 Years in Education
Aug 15, 2022
I start my 36th year in education (28 as a classroom teacher).
Below are the lessons I have learned hanging out with teenagers for so many years. Here are my 36 rules for my 36 yrs
- Learning their names early matters.
- They know if you care. They have very fine-tuned BS detectors.
- They don’t care what you know until they know you care.
- Have fun - Being a teenager is hard - very hard -
- Give much grace because being a teen is hard
- But still, hold them accountable to standards - Though they may complain - if you hold them to a high standard, they will thank you for it later - really!
- Listen! Really listen to your students!
- They are awesome if you take the time to listen.
- Always tell the truth - unless you are doing a magic trick…
- Ask them about their lives outside of class - in fact, know something about them so you can ask how the (play/game/match) was.
- Laugh with them.
- Cry with them
- Never allow students to mistreat each other - you MUST deal with this right away.
- Never mistreat a student.
- Always believe the best in your students, and they will start to believe the best in themselves.
- Set lots of things on fire - even yourself! (Note I am a chemistry teacher)
- Let them light each other on fire (With stringent safety protocols)
- Students learn best when they are doing science - not hearing about it.
- They notice everything! What you wear, if your fly is down, what music you listen to - everything!
- Related to the last one - always check your fly before class!
- Go to the bathroom before school - You never know when you will be able to have a break to pee.
- Too much cognitive load is bad.
- Not enough cognitive load is bad - it’s a fine line
- All students don’t learn at the same pace - find a way to accommodate all students.
- Give students multiple opportunities to prove what they know - One test should not determine their grade.
- Emphasize learning over grading.
- I am not the grader-in-chief - but rather the leaner-in-chief
- Most students need deadlines as some of them will opt to not work if given the choice.
- Learning happens best when they have time to process.
- Downtime in the summer is critical to my effectiveness during the school year.
- Let the little things bounce off you.
- Don’t get hung up in school politics.
- Hang out with positive teachers - You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
- Tell your students to hang out with positive friends - Tell them they are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
- Have a life outside of school
- All #EdResearch can be summarized: Active Learning + Relationships = good teaching