7 Ways to Be the Teacher Your Child Needs
Think back a few years to when you were in school. Did you have a favorite teacher?
At the time, you probably didn’t consider why you preferred one teacher over another. You just knew that you felt valued, loved, and understood in Miss Smith’s classroom. In fact, you still feel kind of warm and fuzzy when you think about sweet Miss Smith!
What Makes a “Good” Teacher?
Let’s consider this question from a child’s perspective. If you asked your child to tell you what she wants in a teacher, what would she say? Go ahead and ask her … I’ll wait!
If your child is like most, you probably heard things like “gives me lots of recess” or “doesn’t make me do math.” But if we were to take a poll of the characteristics that children really appreciate in a teacher, we might also hear responses like these:
- Is nice to me
- Doesn’t yell
- Listens to me
- Cares about me
- Is excited when I get something right
- Is proud of me when I try
- Understands that I’m not like everyone else
- Makes learning fun
Did you notice that many of these qualities focus on the relationship between teacher and student? Coupled with the fact that your homeschooled child lives with his teacher, the importance of a positive student-teacher relationship gains even greater significance. But in the ups and downs of the daily grind, we sometimes get so focused on teaching and “improving” our kids that we forget to let them know how important they are to us and how much we believe in them.
Positive Encouragement Is Huge!
We all love working with people who bring out the best in us—people who encourage us, lift us up, and motivate us to reach higher—and your child is no different. If he ever feels discouraged, try some encouraging words to increase his motivation and help him get back on track.
This quote from Mother Theresa is one of my favorites: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” It can be helpful to have a reminder of that from time to time, so we created this beautiful printable poster to serve as a daily reminder that your kids need your encouragement.
6 More Ways to Be the Teacher Your Child Needs
The impact the student-teacher relationship can have on your child’s ability to succeed is immeasurable. Here are a few more ways that you can be what your child needs most in a teacher.
- Treat lesson time as special.
As your child’s teacher, you will spend many one-on-one hours with your child. Teaching is the perfect platform to show your child how much value he has in your eyes. What a great opportunity to encourage your child, build him up, and help him develop skills and character.
Think about what a difference a smile from your boss or coworker makes when you’re feeling frustrated. To a discouraged child, a smile may communicate you can do it! even better than words can.
- Reinforce the positive.
Point out the things your student does correctly more often than you point out his mistakes. The more you reinforce something, the more likely your child is to repeat it. Just follow the basic principles on the graphic below.
- Avoid comparing your child.
The temptation to compare your child to another child, to a test result, or even to your ideal outcome is a “big pit” that puts pressure on your child and usually leads to frustration and discouragement.
- Listen to your child.
Attentive listening lets your child know you are engaged and present in the conversation, and a child who knows he is heard and understood feels valued.
- Listen to yourself.
But don’t just listen … listen through your child’s ears. Do you need to include more expressions of approval in your teaching?
How do you encourage your child? Let me know in the comments and we’ll add some of our readers’ ideas to the list below.
Tips for Encouraging Your Child, Recommended by Our Readers
- When my kids are discouraged with a new activity, I help my children remember to keep working at it because they will get better! (Recommended by Renee W. via Facebook)
- I help my child work toward progress and not perfection. (Recommended by Karina D. via Facebook)
- I write them small encouraging letters and stick them to the bathroom mirror. (Recommended by Amber via blog comment)
- I like to give them high fives and tell them that I love spending my days with them! (Recommended by Christina H. via blog comment)
- When my child is discouraged because she doesn’t understand something, I repeat what she said, but with the word “yet.” “You don’t understand this yet.” (Recommended by Julie via blog comment.)
- When my kids tell you me “It’s too hard!” I reply, “Yes, this task is hard, but you CAN do hard things!” (Recommended by Kay via blog comment)
- I love to point out what my son has already accomplished to help him see what he is capable of. “Can you believe you just read a WHOLE story by yourself?” or “You have already read HALF of this whole book!” are a couple of examples. (Recommended by Anina via blog comment)