In the realm of teaching, it is easy to say that you will be remembered more for the impressions you made on the students than the actual knowledge taught to them. If a teacher doesn’t make an impression on their students, the students are probably not learning. Below are five ways for teachers to positively impact their students and foster a more learning-conducive environment.

Foster curiosity

Discovery often begins in curiosity and feeds inquiry and learning. It is a flexible and open state of mind which allows information to become substantive and accessible. Foster creativity within all students. Plan appropriate instruction: collaborates with colleagues to monitor student performance and make instruction reflective and responsive to cultural differences and individual learning needs.

Tell stories

Storytelling doesn’t have to just be a tool for elementary teachers to use. The time-honored tradition of oral recitation is one of the foundations upon which human society was formed. Teachers who use this and a variety of methods to assess learning are more successful in their classrooms. These methods include various tasks which encompass formative and summative assessments to monitor and evaluate student progress and inform instruction. Use data to inform instruction and improve students’ learning. Varying methods of instruction and assessment are utilized to provide evidence that student gains 21st century knowledge, skills, and dispositions to easily become a member of society upon graduation.

Reach out and form relationships

Relationships are essential to every classroom, teacher, and student. Children who have good relationships with their teachers learn better because they feel more comfortable in their environment. Teachers who make a positive impact establish clear expectations, hold students to high (but attainable) standards, and provide the opportunities for success. Recognizing and acknowledging emotions is also important in the development of strong relationships.

Provide a safe learning environment

A good teacher works to develop a classroom atmosphere in which respect is a guiding principle, in which each student feels safe to share thoughts and feelings, and where mistakes are learning opportunities instead of failures. Potential ideas for what this looks like in the classroom includes: regular community-building activities which allow students to express thoughts and ideas, build relationships, and practice collaboration; display student work which allows students to feel ownership of their classroom; have rules and procedures and be consistent in enforcement; model trust and respect in all school relationships; and smile often.

Model appropriate behavior

Adults often take for granted how much is learned tacitly. Using each opportunity to model the appropriate reactions to varying situations will encourage students to follow this model. Address grudges and problems early on. A teacher’s ability to facilitate conflict resolution allows students to learn the process of mediation and proper communication without anger or emotional reactions. Additionally, the ability for a teacher to admit vulnerability or that they do not know all the answers is appreciated. Students appreciate when teachers show their humanity. Additionally, modeling kindness, respect, and maintaining proximity to the students during their activities allows them to feel safe.

Teachers play a vital role in the development of students as people and can be proactive in cultivating their motivation and engagement in school activities. Increased student engagement and motivation is elemental to academic and behavioral success. Teachers can continue to improve themselves by pursuing a master’s degree in education which may provide more tools to positively impact students. By modeling appropriate behavior, facilitating a safe learning environment, forming relationships, having a varied repertoire of teaching techniques, and fostering curiosity, teachers can make a positive impact on the life of a student and forever change the way that student views their education.