Start the Year Off by Creating Real Relationships
John McCarthy writes about Igniting Student Engagement, all things worthy of being pinned in my Teaching 101 Pinterest, but I just wanted to focus on one of his concepts, "be real," and "Hawaiian-ize" it for our community of students. He talks about connecting skills and content to students' interests and really that is the key. Content shouldn't happen until the teacher has created a true relationship with the student first.
Creating a relationship with each student could take two months, and what is wrong with that? Other skills, expectations, content can happen, but by getting to know the students by understanding what family knowledge they come to school with, by humbling yourself, even if you are the teacher with all your degrees, so that you can learn from the students is the highest priority for the new school year and the best way to motivate students. When you can connect your content and skills to the knowledge and skills and interests of the students, you are golden.
Like my friend Nani says, when you are able to create a relationship with your students, they will do anything for you.
How to do this? Have them write about what they know, share pictures, bring their ancestors forward, talk story, greet them at the door, write back to them, share yourself.