Note from the Scribbles Team: An article written by teacher Seán Arthurs on Education Week was found by a Scribbles Software Team Member, and we decided the information was too good not to share!
The article is called “Build Student Trust by Sharing Stories on the First Day,” and the insight provided is helpful for teachers beginning the 2021-2022 school year.
What We Took Away From the Article
Providing students with the opportunity to share a bit of their story helps them see their teacher as someone who genuinely cares. Not only does the story exercise help students connect with their teacher, but they can also learn about their classmates in a way that builds trust and understanding of one another.
The typical, surface-level icebreakers on the first day are slightly overdone. The story activity is one we have never heard of and goes deeper than the regular “What did you do over summer?” type prompts. Not only does this story activity actually break the ice, but it also shines a light on the diverse backgrounds within the four walls of a classroom. Not every student has the same family structure, the same ethnicity, the same traditions, the same hobbies, etc. Students need to learn that this is not only accepted, but it is preferred.
K-12 school districts have the great responsibility of shaping the way students view education, and the creation of a genuine, transparent relationship between students and teachers is a must when it comes to academic achievement.
How We Can Help
To go even further with this idea, we think it would be wise for teachers to reach out to the guardians of students and ask if there is any information that should be shared with them. This shows families that you recognize that they are the experts on their child and that the school is seeking a partnership with them. Research* shows that families are more willing to offer information about their children when asked. This means that if no one asks, no one knows.
One way to easily ask this question is to add it to our back-to-school forms for enrollment. While family members are already completing an application, it is a great time to ask them to share something that will help their child succeed and be better supported that school year.
Children are very malleable human beings, so their experiences with school can easily affect their academic trajectory. It is the responsibility of districts, individual schools, and teachers to make sure that each student is properly cared for during this time.