Excellence in our Teaching
James Stenson once said, “Children develop by what they see, what they hear, and what they are repeatedly led to do.” He is right! For this reason,we must model excellence for our students- it must be a way of being in our classrooms.
Through classroom-based research, William Glasser developed the Four Conditions of an Excellent Classroom. Each of these is intentionally practiced at CCS on a daily basis and provides an atmosphere that enables teachers to accomplish the task of Sharpening Minds & Transforming Hearts.
- There must be a warm and supportive classroom environment.
Teachers must connect with their students and students must feel supported. When students feel loved and cared for, they respond with an eagerness to learn and grow.
- Students should be asked to do only useful work.
When making an assignment, a teacher must always ask- does this have meaning, purpose and function? The excellent teacher accepts the responsibility to explain what is useful about everything your students are asked to learn. What students are asked to do doesn’t need to be of immediate practical use, but it has to have some use: aesthetic, artistic, intellectual or social.
3. Students are always asked to do their personal best.
Perseverance must be infused into our practice. Students will struggle, and this is good! We know from Romans that suffering produces perseverance- whether it is in a mathematics problem or in our relationships. A teacher’s job is not to save students from struggle, but to support them as they struggle.
- Excellent work feels good
It is good to celebrate your kids’ excellent work! Let them know when they have succeeded. Once they persevere and struggle, give them the pat on the back that they deserve.
I’ll close this 4-part article on Striving for Excellence with a quote from Bruce Lockerbie, author and Christian School teacher for over 50 years. “God demands more than sanctimoniousness (that is, the show of being moral); he demands excellence marked with a humble holiness.” May our relationship with Christ, our relationship with students, and the way we teach be truly excellent- honoring God in every way.
See Part 1 & Part 2 of Striving for Excellence on the CCS website at: http://calvarylife.org/ccschool/campuslife/publications.html or elsewhere on this blog.