10 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Your Students

You Can't Make Me - Tip 2

I was inspired to write today’s Teaching Tip post from a book I read by Cynthia Tobias.

You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) was not written with teachers in mind. It was meant to help parents deal with strong-willed children. However, many of the tips in the book could work with all kids and especially my students.

Here are ten ways to bring out the best in our students. Pretend they were written by one of your students. These have been adapted from the list at the end of the book (but are pretty close to the original thought and purpose).

1. Value my ability to see the world from a unique perspective

Find ways to appreciate and make the most of my strengths, even when I annoy you.

2. Give us real work

Remember, we need compelling problems to solve, not just busy work or chores. I will respect your authority more if I know the point of the work you assign.

3. Ask for my input

Give me some ownership in the process and the outcome of my own education.

4. Protect our relationship 

You won’t get much from me without a good relationship. Respect and value who I am and I will cooperate with you, most of the time.

5. Smile often

Keep your sense of humour and try to smile, even when you are upset with me or the class.

6. Don’t let me push you around

But, don’t push me around either. Don’t be afraid to stand up to me, just don’t run over me.

7. Speak firmly

Speak to me respectfully, but firmly. Use your voice wisely. It’s a powerful resource.

8. Let it go

Choose your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Decide what is really worth it. Remember Tip 7, if you use your voice too much for every little thing, it will start to lose its power.

9. Give me control

Give me some control over my own education. Allow me to share control without surrendering your authority.

10. Be my teacher

Find subtle ways to remind me that you are my teacher and you care about my growth and development.

I hope you find these tips inspiring. I think we can all learn from each other. And some of the best lessons come from unexpected places.

Teaching Tips – Hundreds of ideas for your teaching practice. Teachers helping teachers is what it’s all about.