I have learned that it is very important to focus on what students view as evidence of teacher care. The trickiest thing about this topic is how varied it can be from student to student. It is crucial that teachers try and focus on students individually because, in the end, the student is the arbiter of whether or not a teacher is demonstrating care. The more I researched and read on this topic, the more I was convinced of its importance. Studies have shown there are many benefits for students when they perceive care from their teachers. Such benefits include:
- Better social and academic development
- Increased motivation
- Increased academic achievement
- Increased confidence and self esteem
- Decrease in “off task” or disruptive behavior
I think there is an endless amount of things to be learned about this topic. One can read all of the generalized statements and research they like, but in reality, each student needs to be considered as an individual. For the rest of my career, each student will have his or her own needs that I will need to be thoughtful of when trying to show them care. Although this can be a frustrating process of trial and error, I believe it is a crucial part of making an authentic impact on students.
Below is a list of all the traits I have compiled over the course of this project that indicate care to students. Remember, this list in not the “end all, be all.” There are things that could be added to this list and not everything on this list will apply to every student.
- A caring teacher considers the learning needs of students and provides scaffolding during teaching
- A caring teacher makes him or herself readily available to students
- A caring teacher does his or her best to maintain a kind disposition towards all students
- A caring teacher shows personal interest in the well being of students, both inside and outside of the classroom
- A caring teacher is mindful of the students’ home situations and commitments outside of the classroom
- A caring teacher shows enthusiasm when working with his or her students
- A caring teacher is careful to provide positive, constructive feedback
- A caring teacher encourages students to pursue opportunities related to their academic strengths
- A caring teacher works to ensure a respectful and safe learning environment for all students
- A caring teacher remains aware of students’ family situations – illnesses, divorce, etc.
- A caring teacher points out student strengths and then encouraging growth in that area
- A caring teacher is respectful of student time outside of his or her classroom
- A caring teacher shows an interest in students’ extra-curricular activities