Some teachers get frustrated trying to reach kids. This teacher has the answer.

ECM 154: How 30-Year-Teacher James Sturtevant figured out how to relate to most students.

Kids don't get teachers. Teachers don't get kids. Times change. Life can be hard for some kids. How do we connect when we're so different? We need trust. We need respect. We need learning to happen. Here's how.

Student teacher connections

James has taught for thirty years. Although he's been trained on many tools, James believes most teacher education training misses the point. Teaching is about relationships.

Listen on iTunes

Listen to James Sturtevant online.

[tweetthis]When we lose sight of the fact that education is a people business, we get in trouble. @jamessturtevant #edreform[/tweetthis]

Don't believe him? Then, believe the American Psychological Association. Here's what they say on their website,

“Positive teacher-student relationships — evidenced by teachers' reports of low conflict, a high degree of closeness and support, and little dependency — have been shown to support students' adjustment to school, contribute to their social skills, promote academic performance and foster students' resiliency in academic performance (Battistich, Schaps, & Wilson, 2004; Birch & Ladd, 1997; Curby, Rimm-Kaufman, & Ponitz, 2009; Ewing & Taylor, 2009; Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Rudasill, Reio, Stipanovic, & Taylor, 2010).

Teachers who experience close relationships with students reported that their students were less likely to avoid school, appeared more self-directed, more cooperative and more engaged in learning (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Decker, Dona, & Christenson, 2007; Klem & Connell, 2004).”

We need positive relationships with our students. How do we do it?

Important Take Aways About Relating to Students

  • Add teacher James Sturdevant to your PLN @jamessturtevant
  • James' book that was discussed in the show: You've Gotta Connect: Building Relationships That Lead to Engaged Students, Productive Classrooms, and Higher Achievement
  • Do you accept your students AS THEY ARE? James says teachers must have “radical acceptance.” “We must accept kids wherever they are.”
  • Was your first year a disaster  too? James' first September as a teacher was awful. “They wanted nothing to do with me. That was the longest September of my life. At the end of that month, I felt like a failure.”
  • Can you let go of the “good old days” and focus on now?
  • Can you listen to your students so you can relate?

Alberty Einstein said

“If a is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”

There are times we need to listen to our students. This year, I'm going to be putting a timer on myself and limit my talking. As James said,

“Something in me told me ot shut up and listen to their conversatin and I would learn something.”

Kids need us. Students need us. They need us to be adults. We need to put on our listening ears and not just expect it from them. James' wisdom from thirty years of teaching speaks to us all.

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  • Learn tips to help you deal with difficult colleagues and students (even those who "hate" you -- yes it is possible!)
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