Well, what does that even mean? What does it mean to be an ally as a teacher? Is there a formula? A secret handshake? A club?
Thankfully, no. We can be allies to our students in the simplest of ways that actually have a lasting impact them. I interviewed a few people, and these are some of the moments/feelings that they shared:
- Mr. Poniscan: “He made a lasting impression because of how much he truly cared for me as a person. He made sure that I was going to be okay, instead of just asking and moving on with his day. I knew that he could relate to me on a personal level.” – Alex
- Mr. Degear: “He had a good teaching style and invested in the students lives, actually talk to their students about how their life’s were going – I liked the idea of a teacher actually caring about their students. It’s how it should be, but it isn’t always that way.” – Ryan
- Mrs. Berwick: “She made the [science] material likeable and created a safe environment in the classroom. I miss her now being in college with harder science classes. The teachers here don’t always care, but she was caring.” – Dakota
There is a clear pattern here –> we, as students, want to be known and want to know that our teachers, who are like mentors, parent-figures, supporters, actually want to know how we are doing. Being an ally to your students means that you actively engage with them and invest in their life. Students want to be known, just like we do, and it is important for them to have role models, mentors, supporters, etc. along the way; as teachers, we have the opportunity and the position to be exactly that for them. It’s exciting for me, personally, because I have the opportunity to continue the cycle that my teachers started for me.