When we travel on a plane we are allowed to bring a carry-on. Within it we often place the essentials, the things we need most, just in case our luggage gets lost along the way.
As teachers, we must be prepared with a ‘teacher carry-on’ of our own that is filled with the essentials we need each day. When lessons don’t go well, when technology goes haywire or when things seem so bad we question our calling as a teacher, we will rely on the items in our carry-on to get us through.
The following five ‘essentials’ are crucial to have with us every day in order to impact students on a much deeper level. Carry them with you and create an unforgettable experience for every student you teach.
5 Essentials in a Teacher’s Carry-on
In many cases, wonder is the beginning of wisdom. The students we teach today will become the leaders of tomorrow, and we need them to be wise. When you instill a sense of wonder, you can help sculpt students into the creative and divergent thinkers we need to lead us into the future.
When the combination of imagination, curiosity, and creativity collide we have wonder. Take the time to allow students to question and think curiously. Create a culture of problem-solving within your class. Give your students a chance to wrestle with the concepts you are teaching rather than just telling them about the concepts themselves. Be intentional with how you handle your students, and teach them to believe in their own ability to be creative. Pack a little wonder into your teacher carry-on each day.
When we bring compassion into our classroom we demonstrate love. Once our students understand that we look at them as valuable people, we can instill within them the love of learning because they will know that they were loved first.
Compassion is a nonjudgmental emotion that focuses on genuinely caring about another person. Take the time to become invested in your students beyond the classroom. Build relationships founded on trust, and make it very clear to students that they matter. No deadline, no curriculum, no number or statistic is more important than the deeper needs of a student. A teacher who demonstrates love and compassion through daily action will be much more impactful to students than one who simply tells them that they care. Pack compassion into your teacher carry-on and carry it with you wherever you go.
Knowledge is power, and education is the key to that power. Our students can change the world when they are given the opportunity to unlock their full potential. A teacher who is passionate about the knowledge they possess can transform the lives of students when they teach it to them.
Knowledge is one gift you can give your students that can never be taken away from them. It becomes part of who they are and provides them with options they would not otherwise have ever known. Take the time to invest in the content you bring to your students. The knowledge you offer to them will transform how they view the world. Make it come alive to them through your passion for it, and instill within them the love of learning. Pack knowledge into your teacher carry-on and guide your students on a powerful path to change the world.
Patience is a skill. As teachers, we must make it a point to practice patience on purpose. There will be times throughout the year that are frustrating. There will be times when students seem to test you and get on your last nerve. It is during these times that our mindset must be strong and we must practice patience in order to impact in a positive way.
Light will always overcome darkness, yet it is much more difficult to remain in the light when darkness engulfs us. Take the time to be patient with your students regardless of the circumstance. Learn to look at things through the lens they see and don’t become blinded by your own assumptions. Take a moment to breathe during times of frustration and react only once your first instinct has calmed down. Our students rely on their teachers to be the rock that can withstand any wave that crashes into them. Be the stronghold they need by listening to them and truly understanding where they are coming from. Pack a little patience into your teacher carry-on and shine the light on students who often get lost in the darkness.
Be a beacon of positivity that shines so bright even the darkest of days will be made better simply by being around you. A teacher who exudes joy in and out of the classroom will brighten the day of even the most downtrodden students, and that joy can make all the difference.
Leo Buscaglia, a New York Times bestselling author and a man known as the ‘granddaddy of motivation speakers’ once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Take the time to be intentional with the little acts of joy that can change a student’s day. Make it a point to smile and compliment them on a daily basis. Do your best to think before you speak, so that even in the most frustrating moments only kind words are uttered. Bring humor into your classroom, because there is no greater sound than the laughter of a child. Pack joy into your teacher carry-on and watch the chain reaction it will bring.
SPREAD POSITIVITY EVERYWHERE!