16 July 2024
Kids

5 tips for a Happy Classroom

Communication & praise


Communication is key and needs to be established from a really early stage in the relationship, as without communication no relationships can survive or even thrive. In terms of communication, we should refer to praise and the fact that we should praise the effort and not the result if we want to build a healthy environment. Also, we should shift the focus on the behaviour and share what does not serve us as well as make praise a healthy part of teaching instead of a tool of an otherwise exam-focused teaching system.


Mutual respect & empathy


Respect is not only necessary but imperative for the classroom to work. Respect is built and gained through hard work and communication and needs to be reciprocated from both sides. I do believe that it doesn’t mean that because you are a teacher you have to be respected; you have to earn respect and be able to show the same if not more respect than you receive from others. Apart from respect, another important quality worth mentioning is empathy and all the reciprocated feelings it involves. Empathy is not only the feeling of understanding but also being understood and heard and that is imperative for a classroom to function since inevitably we spend half of our lives in a classroom with people we might never have chosen as companions in real life.


Trust


I do believe that trust is essential between teachers and students as we all know that classrooms are micro societies where we express ourselves, evolve and build bonds; so that’s why I think trust is one major component of classrooms. And it’s important to understand that concepts such as trust and respect work both ways. How can we expect children to trust us and share their fears and emotions if we teachers are not completely honest and transparent with them?


Common experiences


As all relationships are based on experiences and memories, we create together; similarly, classroom experiences are undoubtedly necessary in order to forge, strong and true relationships between individuals free from social constraints. Understandably, we share experiences with our friends and loved ones but think about all the time we spend in class, about all the days we felt down and we had to attend class both as students and as teachers. So why not be able to share experiences and do creative activities with students while at the same time, developing vocabulary, grammar and communication skills as a whole? I do believe in the importance of common experiences in every kind of relationship and that’s why I try to create memories with my students, no matter their age and their level of English.

No judgement


Since my teaching is based on social and emotional learning and I constantly try to create alternative classrooms built on trust, respect, experiences, and communication; judgment has no place in them. In my classroom, we can talk about everything; we can talk about the most controversial topics. We will have multiple debates, even heated ones on not-so-easy concepts; but what’s the point of avoiding discussions or only staying on easy-to-face subjects? We are open to all opinions and will listen to everybody’s point of view whether we share it or not. But no matter what we believe we all learn to accept different opinions and points of view and for me that’s how the success of a teacher is measured.

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