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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Articles for Teachers

7 Things Great Teachers Do
By:James Vollbracht

What do great teachers do?

With the drop out rate across this country at 50%, and with most students dropping out in the 9th grade, in a survey of what great teachers do to keep students involved, the most basic strategies emerged.

Yet, this time the researchers asked the students! What they said might surprise and delight you. It's not rocket science!

1. Students want teacher to get to know them personally. Let's face it. School have turned into factories. Especially high schools. Students need to have personal relationships with teachers who really care about them. Get to know them!

2. Students also want to know about teachers. If you were like me, you never heard teachers say anything about their own lives. When they did, we were all spellbound, because you never believed they could have a life!

3. Students really want teachers to simply smile more! A simple smile is a form of approval and a sign that you matter in these factories, we call schools, and you may be the only person to smile at them all day!

4. Students need teachers to encourage them to participate in school activities. Teachers - notice student strengths, compliment them, and steer them into debate, band, singing, sports, or some kind of activity where they expand their horizons and don't let them just go home after school. (Did you know most high risk behaviors occur after school in a home with no adult present?)

5. Students want teachers to spend time beyond class helping them understand the material. Teachers, all it takes is a 1/2 during lunch or a bit of time after school to review and answer questions students are too intimidated to ask during class.

6. Students desire descriptive feedback on their assignments - not just a grade! How many of us worked on an assignment and got a "C" with no explanation? Teachers, take the time to explain the grade! Whether it's a compliment or a criticism. Feedback is the breakfast of champions!

7. Students always want to know why. Have you ever sat in a class or seminar and asked yourself "what does this have to do with me? Students do this constantly! Teachers - tell them why this is important for them to know and connect it with real life. If you can't, don't teach it!

These are tried and true strategies all teachers can employ. Imagine, working with schools that embrace these simple ideas and how it can transform the school environment! Oh, and there's one more bonus one I'll add: give students in the middles roles and jobs at school. We pay so much attention to students at either end of the spectrum, we forget about those in the middle. Everyone needs to be needed, and the research tells us school engagement is one keys to higher grades and test scores.

This is just a beginning. Think about the 7 things administrators can do, parents can do, and community members can do!

Contact James Vollbracht, an educational keynote speaker and consultant with over 20 years experience. Author of "Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand: How to Create a Culture That Cares for Kids" (Viking-Penguin), he can help your school now! Contact with at http://www.jamesvollbracht.com, and be inspired and excited about the small things that reap big differences!

James Vollbracht, author and presenter at National Conferences, Governors Summits, School Districts, and Youth Serving Organizations can be reached at http://www.jamesvollbracht.com. His presentations are story driven, interactive, researched based, and full of practical ideas!

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