Thursday, July 7, 2011

10 things I have learned part 1: Relationships

If I was to go into the PDP program at SFU, UBC or UVic, the first thing I would say is: "Relationships will be the bedrock of your teaching experience". I don't know a single master teacher that doesn't make profound connections with kids. But I would also tell them that they don't all have to be like Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society.

I would bring in one of my favorite people in the world to prove my point. Carlo Muro, a math teacher at Riverside Secondary, could be seen as my polar opposite.
Carlo winning BC Coach of the Year
He is quiet, shy, thoughtful, jittery, kind, contentious and possible the most angelic man I know (Sorry @braabe but Carlo has you beat). He teaches all class, lectures, give exams after school and is probably the greatest math teacher I have ever met. Beyond our dissimilar techniques, what I admire about Carlo (and what I hope to become better at every year) is his ability to make profound connections with kids. We have teachers at Riverside who Carlo taught, coached and mentored and he is adored. He would never have kids stand on a table and shout out the quadratic equation or boast about his success... he would ask how their day was, what they learned, how their basketball game went. He would show up to a basketball game to see one of students play...then he would show up to the next. Carlo (and I think every great teacher) understands that forming and maintaining relationships takes work.

When you have those relationships in place, your classroom management becomes easier & your interactions with everyone (parents, students, staff, etc...) become more comfortable. It's not a hard thing to do but like any other skill, it takes both effort and time.

You have to give up some of your time to make a difference... and that sacrifice is hard sometimes. Missing out on your family time to see a student's basketball game is hard but its easier when you make it a family activity :) It takes effort to know students not in your class, but walking down the hallways and saying "Hi" to any kid in your school is a reward in itself.

So to all you new teachers out there... build profound relationships with kids. Be that teacher that you remember from school, the one who made you want to become a teacher (thank you Mr. Carillo!)


  1. If "Mr Carillo" could see you now, he would be very proud of you! I am sure that you will be the teacher that some of your students will remember that made an impact in and on their life!

  2. I just finished my practicum in a K/1 class. At the end of my time with these delightful human beings I asked them what they thought about me or how the liked me as a teacher. Most of the kids could remember a few things of what we learned (thank goodness) but most of all the said they enjoyed my class because I was nice to them. A great professor of mine Dr. Phelan told us that many children will not remember what you taught them but how you treated them and I couldn't agree more.