A National Board Certified Teacher explains what an educator’s life is really like. The series is a value-added collection of Best ClassAntics Posts EVER! Each post explains something about a teacher’s life and links to ClassAntics posts with relevant teaching tips.
Part Six: We teach kids life skills
Teachers impart much more than book learning. We try to teach life skills and maybe even a little common sense.
I teach my kids that if they want self-esteem, they should act like someone they can respect. One must have a feeling of competence in order to be truly happy. Teacher to the rescue—we know that Chores Build Confidence. We Set up class jobs right away! Each student has a specific task to do that makes everyone’s life better. We all depend on each other to come through every day. My system for class jobs really gelled when I assigned year-long duties. If you have a more unwieldy system wherein students change jobs weekly or daily, check mine out. I even give you the Excel spreadsheet we use to organize class jobs. Truly, this is hard-won knowledge and I would love to share it.
We have all sorts of tricks to help kids with their handwriting: some students find that graph paper really helps. You know DMV forms with one square for each letter? Well, that system really helps you write more neatly, and some kids need that kind of structure just so they can turn in something legible. Another creative use of paper: we show kids that Turning Notebook Paper Sideways helps keep math problems lined up.
We teach kids basic table manners: chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk with food in your mouth, and keep your elbows off the table. We teach little tricks like the b-d Method for Setting the Table. Students will never forget where their bread and drink go. (It also helps kids who mix up b and d in their writing.)
Kids lose things all the time, and so we remind our students to Check the Lost-and-Found before each school vacation. Otherwise, their sweatshirts and lunchboxes will get donated to a child who might keep better track of it.
We spend a lot of time and effort to Teach kids to respect school staff. It brightens everyone’s day when kids make the effort to show appreciation.
Plus—if your students are short on common sense, they might be able to make up for it with charm!