In many ways, I have a closer coworker relationship with my students than I do with my colleagues. My colleagues are wonderful, and we help each other with teaching, classroom management, and meeting students’ needs. However, the coworker relationship is much closer with students.
In the classroom, I am the manager and the students are my team. Our task is to make sure everyone meets standards by the end of the school year. I set a plan for how to accomplish our learning goals, but the students and I adjust it as the year goes on.
How to treat your students like coworkers:
- Cultivate the coworker attitude in yourself—it will show in how you approach everything.
- Share with students the state and national standards, curriculum maps, and pacing materials from the district. This helps them take your perspective–and take your job more seriously. Seeing planning and accountability materials helps students understand the big picture and appreciate that school is about more than day-to-day assignments.
- When possible, tell students your objective and give them the chance to help you determine the best way to accomplish it. You can do this for a day, a unit, a project, a grading period, or the whole year. Give the students experience with short and long-range planning.
- Assign class jobs. Explain to students that the classroom requires certain tasks be done in order for each day to go smoothly. Teach students about man hours, efficiency, and management skills. This will motivate everyone to complete their jobs because they understand the true purpose. (Click here for detailed advice on setting up class jobs—including a FREE fill-in spreadsheet. Click here for advice on how to work as a team to maintain the classroom.)
- Try to keep things between you and the student wherever possible. If you must involve an administrator or parent, move on after the incident is over. Try to get back to dealing with the student directly. If you can do this successfully, you’ll strengthen the coworker bond.