How To Focus On All Students In The Classroom
Teachers are human beings and just like other humans do, sometimes we can be distracted while in the classroom. We can be biased towards some students and lose focus unintentionally. Sometimes you may focus too much on one gender. There are also cases of teachers focusing too much on one race and ignoring another race, either positively or negatively.
Of course, as teachers, we try to avoid preferential treatment, but sometimes our human nature gets in the way of our noble intentions. That makes it essential to self-reflect and evaluate our conduct in and outside the classroom. The beauty of the teaching profession is that we always have a second chance to right our wrongs; to do things better. Every year is a chance for us to get better than we were the previous year.
This article aims at helping you focus on all students in the classroom from different backgrounds at all time, whether it be cultural differences, gender, intelligence, or simply the fact that you connect better with some children more than others. This is how:
1. Admit that you are not immune to bias
As a teacher, it starts by admitting that you are human and susceptible to distraction and bias. Acknowledge that you could be biased against certain students, so you start checking who those students could be. You are not color blind: How do you interact with kids who don’t have the same skin color as you? Evaluate how you treat kids from different ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ask yourself whether you are doing enough to optimize every kid’s academic potential. Ask yourself whether you are focusing on each student as much as you would want your children to be treated by their teacher. Bottom line: Make genuine efforts of interrogating your conduct in the classroom and making the necessary amends.
2. Be empathetic
Make an effort to understand your students’ perspectives and emotions. You must understand what every kid is going through in their private life. Know the status of the communities where your students live so that you can understand their perspectives on different aspects of learning. Could be you have lost focus on a certain student because you judge him or her harshly, probably on matters of discipline, when in fact the child has been acting up just to get your attention, something he or she doesn’t get at home.
3. Encourage students to air their opinions
Encourage learners to tell you when you step out of line; when you focus too much on one group to the point of forgetting other kids. Agree to be held to account by your students. When students air their concerns in a respectful manner, you get the chance to self-examine yourself. When possible, teach your class about how we must all strive to treat everyone equal, regardless of their race, abilities or gender. Include teaching about what your students can do to stop bullying. This will give you opportunity to let your class that you are also imperfect and always trying to be a better person and teacher in your classroom.
4. Be kind and caring
Maybe you are kind and caring, but do you communicate the same to your students? Do the students think of you as caring? Start showing every kid that you care by being slow to judge, being patient with them all regardless of their many shortcomings, and being genuinely interested in learning about their distinct cultures and interests. Don’t make kids scramble for your love and attention. Be willing to share everything with everyone in your class.
5. Learn to focus and love your problem child
You may have ignored a particular student because you’ve formed a negative opinion about them, even sub consciously. Instead of ignoring him or her, force yourself to view and treat them with love and care for a whole school term. Start seeing them as in the same way you view the brightest and best-disciplined student in your class. Your opinion will soon change.
6. Communicate and work towards your expectations
Stop lowering your expectations for a certain group of students. Don’t assume, for example, that a kid is dumb just because he or shey are from an impoverished community or because they are from a given race. Have uniformity when setting expectations for all kids in your class. Interact with introverts in the same manner as you do with extroverts. It may take a little effort to draw an introvert out of their shell. This extra attention is ok for a higher purpose. Try to communicate with foreign students who do not speak the local language yet. If necessary advocate to include translation services in your school. Grade all students the same, both boys an girls. Don’t give up on a student or lower your expectations for them just because he or she has a physical or mental disability. If you are pushing your students to outscore their previous score, do it to all of them- equally!
The key to focusing on all students in your classroom is granting each one of them the same status as children. You must recognize that no matter how different they are in behavior and academic success, their innocence and vulnerability are the same. Treat them with the same amount of respect and love.