Describe your favorite teacher. I bet you would describe someone who cared about you as a person. They probably shared a little about themselves with the class. They had high expectations, but did their best to help you achieve your best. This teacher respected you, so you respected them. They were role models with a passion for kids that made even the most difficult students act a little better in class and feel valued. You likely did really well in this teacher’s class.
In Wylie ISD, we realize student centered teachers are vitally important to the success of our student’s social AND academic achievement. Not only do we hire and train to make sure we have teachers who foster positive relationships, we measure these outcomes through the eyes of our students. In fact, we do this three different ways.
Who Is Your Favorite Teacher?
Know this guy? 5th graders at Harrison Intermediate sure do! It’s Dale Ramirez and in our efforts to build relationships, we recently we asked kids in Wylie to write down their favorite teacher of all time. Their responses were collected, sorted and distributed to teachers district-wide. Mr. Ramirez, like many other teachers, received a healthy stack of well wishes from former students! This week, teachers at every campus will find these reminders in their box. This reminds teachers of the importance of relationships and rewards our awesome teachers!
Do I Have Someone On Campus Who Cares About Me?
Soon, we will ask students to fill out a similar slip of paper with a different question. This time, we will ask them to identify an adult on their campus that they trust and can talk to. If they cannot identify anyone, we ask "who would you like to know better?" This is a great reminder for teachers to know that there are a lot of kids at their school who care about them enough to recognize them as that one person they can turn to for help. We also use it to determine kids who may not have a person they feel close enough to trust, so we can help them.
This is Coach Ben Knighton, in only his second year of teaching he has already a legion of kids who love him and consider him not only a great teacher but someone they trust. Ben is evidence that we are intentionally hiring folks that build strong relationships with kids. We hope that every student has at least one positive relationship with a teacher they can turn to at school, like a parent at home.
Does My Teacher Care About Me?
This is Mr. Cedric Ingram, Principles of Law teacher at Wylie High School. Kids LOVE him! Every student in his classroom believes that he cares about them. How do we know this? We measure this annually. Specifically, we ask students in grades 5-12 if their teacher cares about them. Why/Why Not? This will be completed each period by students digitally, compiled and returned to the teacher. This helps the teachers reflect on the difference they make and perhaps ways to improve their relationships with kids.
Schools across America talk about the importance of relationships. Wylie ISD is unique because we are doing something about it. After all, we measure it three times a year. But wait, there’s more! On Wednesday, December 7, we will take time from our day to talk with our kids about the importance of teacher/student relationships and the impact they have on our student’s lives.
What You Can Do
Please take some time this week to discuss the importance of having positive relationships with teachers and perhaps let that favorite teacher of your child know they matter. One more thing, I bet that favorite teacher of yours would love to know they made a difference. Why not send them a message and let them know they matter too??? After all, showing people you care is the Wylie Way!