The hope for the future lies within my 15-minute block of 24 students.
For eight years, I have greeted students at the door of Room 138 with a high five, a smile, and a cup of coffee in my hand. Though this isn’t the most academic or rigorous interaction students have with my classroom--it’s the foundation for everything we do over the course of a year.
I learned a long time ago that students don’t want to learn from someone they don’t like or from someone who has no interest in their lives or their stories. As educators, we must be purposeful in establishing these relationships and having day-to-day interactions with students. Homeroom provides the perfect opportunity to lay the foundations of this important work.
During our morning time together, we talk about our families, experiences, and our hopes and dreams for a brighter future.
These conversations play out in every lesson we do. We make connections to the outside world and to the worlds in which we find ourselves--some of those worlds are perpetuated by societal norms. The outside world says, “You won’t be anything because you are a young girl from this part of town...” But it’s also a small moment in time during which I can intentionally put new dreams and words into their minds. I can say, “Have you heard of this college nearby? You would make a great teacher, nurse, law enforcement officer...”
Humanity is found in a relationship with another human--with our students.
Humanity is found in homeroom.
With our busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists, we often overlook the true purpose of homeroom. Beyond clerical work, the time spent checking in with students on a personal basis and asking them how their weekend went, with the intent of forming relationships, is a small investment that has the potential to pay great dividends.
Relationships between students and passionate teachers will always be the foundation of successful classrooms. Our kids deserve a little humanity.
Derek Voiles is the 2017 Tennessee Teacher of the Year and a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY).
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The opinions expressed in Teacher-Leader Voices are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.