(This is step two in the free Teacher 2.0 course/"experience" at Mightybell - participate at https://mightybell.com/experiences/3ff5259e1c4d9948-Teacher-2-0.)
As Angela Maiers says, "you matter!" (http://www.angelamaiers.com)
What is something that you are good at? If you are feeling particularly confident, you can list several things!
Some questions to ponder:
I have the ability to express to my students the fact that, although the content of the course is important and I love sharing my enthusiasm and insights with them, the most important thing in my teaching day is making personal connections with THEM. It doesn't matter if they struggle with the subject matter...I still value them as human beings and do not judge them by homework, grades, or projects. Connecting with students is what keeps me coming back year after year!
After 15 years of teaching, it is those students who felt some kind of human connection that have come back and let me know of their appreciation. It is always great to get any token of remembrance from students, however these are always the best. I strive to make all students feel that they matter to me, which is not hard because it is true. It takes a little more effort at times ;) but never impossible. Commenting on a role in a school play, a great performance in a sport, a wonderfully artistic doodle on a notebook, an intriguing T-shirt message...anything can be a way to let someone know you SEE him or her. Interestingly, I myself feel seen by my students as more than a provider of content material, so the benefits are doubled!
I have decided that I will not connect through Facebook until the students have graduated. Due to the strict laws governing what a teacher is responsible for, I never want to be in the position of needing to turn someone over to the administration for making unwise decisions, as that is not the role I have chosen. I have not done any real research yet into the new Facebook application that allows you to organize friends into groups, but that may be something to explore.
However, I do think that platforms such as Google+ can be much more teacher/student friendly, and will be exploring this during the year. I also use CollaborizeClassroom and Edmodo, which are educational social media sites. I really feel that the more connection we have the better off we are!
Kim, I agree -- personal connections are the foundation on which lasting learning (and learning communities) must be built.
I believe in my ability to mentor, network and empower ... these three things have defined my work as a learning technologist and elearning consultant.
My business name CoachCarole.net is built around these three things and my motto is: ... lead, follow and get out of the way ...
Leading helps me to provide the appropriate environment in which others may grow - my mentoring strategies are enhanced by my ability to lead fearlessly. I'm not always willing to follow the path well trodden, I look for alternative approaches that suit my philosophy in education. e.g. you want to learn how to teach online, let's help you to be a self-directed competetent learner online first. My next ementor project/program for a group of eleaders in Hume region of Victoria, Australia will be built around this model.
Following the wisdom of others from the comfort of my office at home using the social media tools of the moment, helps me to network widely and share meaningfully. My knowledge and network grows exponentially as I delve into the world of curation (Scoop.it!) and the world of MOOCs (EpCoP MOOC, Change 11) and the spaces where I can converse and discuss freely my view of education for adults in Australia.
Getting out of the way ... this one is often the hardest to do as a mentor... once you recognise the signs of confidence and competence in the person you are mentoring, its time to get out of the way. I am reminded of this over and over again, and the best feedback from this is to see how they are empowered to do what they do best.