Every teacher knows the feeling… when something just works and you can see the light of learning in your students’ eyes. Maybe it was a brilliant project that connected your students to the real world. Maybe it was a breakthrough moment with one particular student.
We also know the opposite feelings… the days when nothing seems to be going right, when parents or students aren’t happy, when you feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time.
Regardless of how you feel in any one moment, we can find contentment and joy in every moment as teachers with the deep and abiding knowledge that you are exactly who your students need. You are uniquely placed in your students’ lives at this critical time. You have the unique opportunity to make a difference in their lives in a way that no one else can. This knowledge can help us celebrate with our students when everything is going well, and keep us going on days when we face challenges. It’s a mindset filled with huge opportunity, and huge responsibility. It’s what Gravity Goldberg calls teaching like yourself.
It sounds obvious: Of course educators should feel empowered in their jobs. Of course teachers should always know that they can have a real impact on their students. After all, that’s why they became teachers! Of course teachers should bring all of their talents and passions to their jobs. But how often does it happen? Often teachers get the message that they should be teaching like [the teacher down the hall, or last year’s department chair, or like a champion or a pirate]. It can be helpful having these guides at first, but if teachers are not encouraged to develop and embrace the unique gifts and talents they bring to the profession—if they are not encouraged to own their practice as professionals—everyone in the community suffers, especially the students.
What Gravity has found in years of teaching and working with other teachers is that when we bring our full selves to the classroom, it helps us to honor our students’ individual strengths as learners, too. In other words, teaching like yourself allows students to learn like themselves.
Teaching like yourself does not just mean doing whatever you want all the time. Instead, Gravity outlines five main practices of those who teach like themselves:
- They know their core beliefs and are in touch with their “why.”
- They align their teaching to their core beliefs.
- They build strong relationships in the community.
- They see teaching as something they can always get better at.
- They take care of themselves.
- They make brave decisions to do what’s right for their students.
The beauty of teaching like yourself is that it will look a bit different for everyone. Here are some stories from teachers featured in Gravity’s new book, Teach Like Yourself:
So what about you? What are the teaching moments that you are most proud of? How do YOU teach like yourself?
Take the #TeachLikeYourself Video Challenge!
If you’re ready to share your story, we encourage you to join the challenge! By participating, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free copy of Gravity’s new book, Teach Like Yourself (publishing August 28). The challenge is live from Monday, August 20 at 9a PDT and ends on Friday, August 24, at midnight PDT.
The rules are simple:
- Record a short video sharing how you teach like yourself.
- Post it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #teachlikeyourself while the challenge is live from August 20-24.
- Tag Corwin in your post so we’re sure to see it!
That’s it! I can’t wait to hear all the stories.
Best wishes for you and your students this school year!