This post is sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. All opinions are my own.
“Being a parent will change the way you teach,” a parent volunteer told me during my third year of teaching first grade. I never would have known this had I not returned to teaching this past fall. I love a good challenge but returning to teach middle school after the year already started?
My husband thought I was crazy, and my own kids thought I shouldn’t do it. Fellow parents of teens thought signing a contract that required me to spend more time with 13-14 year olds was insane.
But as I look back on a year that had a rocky start and a most unusual end (thanks coronavirus school closures!), I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I taught 8th graders how to create websites, build video games, and about topics like artificial intelligence. I also gained the trust and respect of my students which means the world to me.
How have I become a trusted adult for my students?
I teach the same way I parent— with kindness, compassion, trust, and a focus on social and emotional learning (SEL). At home and at school I like to give my kids and students independence but support them along the way.
I’ve worked hard to cultivate respect in our family and in my classroom. I let my own teens and those in my classroom learn from their failures, manage their emotions, and demonstrate kindness to each other.
Yes, I am a computer science teacher, but I also believe in cultivating SEL skills with my students just like I do with my own teens at home. Spending lots of time around teens has allowed me to learn what leads to happy successful teens.
6 Tips for Raising Happy, Successful Teens