The role and responsibility of a classroom teacher is a very important one. Students, specifically younger classes, need to feel safe and a sense of belonging while being entertained and encouraged in order to reach their learning potential. Without this, students are susceptible to losing focus and can begin to fulfil their unmet needs, through potentially negative sources, such as acting out. This results in an unfavourable atmosphere in the class. The teacher needs to create a sense of belonging and inclusivity in the classroom so that students leave class feeling connected and gratified.
Teachers are leaders that play a key role in creating and providing students with a positive learning environment and a supportive classroom. As a role model in the school, teachers should have a student-centred mindset that focusses on addressing the needs of young and impressionable learners.
Every student deserves to feel safe when coming to school, free from physical abuse, pressure, harassment and bullying. Those working in education faculties should work towards ensuring a safe learning atmosphere in all aspects of daily life at schools. They should guarantee safety at bus stops and on playgrounds, as well as in lunchrooms, bathrooms, corridors, and classrooms.
Teachers should develop a culture of care. As demonstrated by American Educator, Nel Noddings, schools should be built around promoting the physical and mental well-being of students. Care should be an important factor. This ‘culture of care’ should be multi-faceted and demonstrated in multiple aspects in schools, through providing meals if hungry, clean clothes if needed, medical care when necessary, counselling and other required services.
Noddings states, “Teach them that caring in every domain implies competence. When we care, we accept the responsibility to work continuously on our own competence so that the recipient of our care is enhanced. There is nothing mushy about caring. It is the strong resilient backbone of human life.” Noddings sums up her entire program with this single statement. It explains why we must care and for whom we must care for, while reminding readers that “caring is not cuddling and hugging, it is more.” (Nel Noddings, https://jotamac.typepad.com/files/analysis-of-nel-noddings-the-challenge-to-care-in-schools.pdf)
In December 2019, I went to Haines Junction school to teach my dance to little humans. Haines Junction is a small community in the Yukon and kids there are known to be comfortable mostly with very familiar (family-like) faces. I was the very first time at that school. I was a total stranger to all the students. In a few minutes, there was a great connection my students had with me. How this was developed? It was achieved through personal attention. I showed them how I care about their world and making them assured that I was there to encourage them, to support them, to admire them, and most importantly to be a part of their world.
And most of all, students who learn in environments created by genuinely caring grown-ups have more positive emotions and stronger educational success. When learners who live in poverty experience support and kindness that works to alleviate their limiting circumstances, sometimes devastating poverty-related forces in their lives, the possibility for progress is considerably improved.
A good, trustworthy, and supportive learning setting enables learners, adults, and even the school as a system to study in marvellous ways. Such an atmosphere, which encourages innovation, care, and a friendly environment, creates belonging, which is very important. A classroom mood with a good vibe which strengthens and enhances the students’ happiness and success can be greatly boosted by satisfactory, excellent, and dedicated teachers who love to teach with passion.