Relationships with others – It is what defines a great leader from a good leader. It is what separates teachers that sell tickets for their lessons and lessons that just have students in attendance. We have read the books, had the conversations, participated in the chats and we have done our homework. If you want to be the best of the best then you need to find what matters most. And that is simply - relationships with those around you.
The great teachers and great leaders are those that recognize that nothing of significance can be accomplished without having a connection with those that you are nearest to. Students will believe in their learning (and more importantly themselves) and will sit at the edge of their seats awaiting the next moment in their instruction if you have take the time to know who they are.
If as adults we thrive on our relationships with each other than we owe that to our students.
Furthermore, if we do not take the time on the front end (and continue that over the course of time) to get to know our learners, the reality is that the knowledge we share will fall on deaf ears.
We believe in those that believe in us.
Angela Maiers says it best when she wrote about the 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter and spoke to this:
"When I think of people who made the biggest impact in my life, it was not their expertise or accomplishments that provided me with the direction, guidance and reassurance I needed to accomplish my goals. It was their sincere belief in me. They let me know through their words and actions that I mattered."
As you think about your interactions with others, reflect on the relationships you have formed with them. Consider the following:
Do you listen more than you share out?
Do you know the interests and the passions of those you work with or teach with?
Do you know what makes your colleagues “tick”?
Do you know who your students are away from the classroom?
How will you be remembered as an educator?
Dave Burgess who knows that relationships in instruction are essential to student learning shares in Teach Like a Pirate, “provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” Building those relationships and creating those uncommon experiences will guarantee a take-away like no other.
Great leaders and great teachers build relationships first, teach second. Continue to strive to make that a focus of what you do each day. You too will be rewarded. Everyone matters.