Teacher Commitments to Every Student

It’s the weekend before my students return, and I couldn’t be more pumped! There’s something ethereal about the start of a new school year. I drafted scribbled a letter to myself detailing what I want to be true this year (I’m a picture kinda teacher) about my craft. What clearly stands out (aside from content related items) is what I want my students say, think, and believe about me. I took those ideas and turned them into a quick blog post with commitments I am making. 

1) Your teacher cares about and sees you. 
From my perspective I think I do a solid job of letting my students know this, however, I forced myself to delve into what this looks, feels, and sounds like in my classroom. In particular, I want I ensure that I reach all of my students, especially those who don’t gravitate towards my over the top personality. 
– A daily greeting
– Plan out who I will eat lunch with and use that time to listen to students 
– Have a warm and demanding disposition 
– Engage in ongoing conversations about student interests (AKA use my student interest forms)
– Ask questions
– Always assume the best, even during challenging situations. 
– Provide high support with accelerated expectations #restorativepractices
– Get to know student influencers & balance the ratio of positive/negative communication
– Discuss and check-in on student goals
– Advocate when necessary for materials that leverage student personal experiences
– Celebrate student growth
– Double check practices for gender/cultural/racial stereotypes 
– Analyze trends in consequences and rewards. Be honest with myself around mindsets that might be at play. 

2) Your teacher cares about the entire class. 
Our class community is important. Middle school was the bane of my existence. I was teased to no end, and to cope I became a really mean and unhappy young lady during this time. My students MUST know that I deeply care about them as individuals, AND about our classroom collective. Our class will be welcoming and encouraging to everyone because everyone matters.  

– Prioritizing teambuilders that support a welcoming environment (once a week)
– Participate in community time and offering to lead different parts for our grade team
– Quickly address issues involving student conflict using restorative practices (<— school requirement)
– Authentically reference our school anchors and habits
– Shout out examples of strong team habits
– Be present at all times! #earsalwayson 
– Believe that my students can engage in direct conversations and learn from one another. 

3) Your teacher values your opinion.
I grew up in the “because I said so” era, which (IMO) stifles motivation. I am completely invested in giving my students rationale for why we do things, and open to their feedback. I’ve learned this builds investment and nurtures intrinsic motivation. While we have a set curriculum and guidelines, my students have to own their role as drivers in their educational career. It’s not my class, it’s OUR class!  

– Provide rationale for decisions in our classroom
– Implement and utilize the structure for collecting student opinions
– Listen to my students and ask clarifying questions before responding 
– Narrate the changes based on feedback
– Reiterate that it’s our class 

4) Your teacher loves teaching.
I look forward to seeing my students every week, and keeping our flow going because when we get in a groove, WE GROOVE!!! I want my zest for my career to shine through daily. 

– Be POSITIVE and avoid negativity around the teaching profession. 
– Share my love openly…even when it feels like I’m swimming against the tide. 
– Be solutions oriented
– Operate with the 24/48 rule so that feelings don’t build up
– Check in with other teachers (especially the new ones) to see how they are doing and how I can help.  
– Create engaging and rigorous lessons
– Submit student work and class videos for school bulletin boards. 
– Dance during our school dance parties #easydotcom
– Dress the part daily
– Balance my professional and personal live! 
– Smile, laugh, learn (in no particular order)

5) Your teacher is not perfect. 
Teaching is really challenging, and no one teacher has all the answers! I embrace the fact that some of my students look up to me, but I am human, and will make mistakes. I want to build a classroom community where I share how I am learning and getting better so that my students see there is #nomagic  

– Share what I am learning from my students. 
– Be vulnerable and honest when I make a mistake. More importantly, sharing what I learn from my mistake. 
– Be humble
– Be a team player (share,beg, borrow, and steal from other phenomenal teachers)
– Remember the students are ALWAYS watching!
– Revisit these commitments to celebrate the brightspots and (re)shape the path forward

Please share what you want your students to think/feel about you and your class? 



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Picture of Tanesha B. Forman

Tanesha B. Forman

I'm a current middle school administrator who loves breaking down complex topics and providing opportunities for educators learn, reflect, practice, and implement methods that foster equity and anti-racism. I believe we win together!

Behind the Blog

Hi, I'm Tanesha.

I’m a current middle school administrator who loves breaking down complex topics and providing opportunities for educators learn, reflect, practice, and implement methods that foster equity and anti-racism. I believe we win together!




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