We may think that students should come to us with an inherent understanding of our commitment to them and their success. After all, we chose this profession to make a difference in the lives of learners. However, our students may have experiences and perceptions that lead them to doubt our investment, or at least be unclear about what to expect, as they begin a new year with us.
As we begin the school year, now is a good time to share with students our commitments and assure them that they can rely on us to ensure their success. Our choice to be direct with students about our commitment to them and their learning is also an expression of our professional confidence and competence to be able to support their success. Further, when we share our commitment to our students, we also solidify our commitment to ourselves.
But what can we say to give students confidence and reassurance that they can be successful—and that we will be there to support and guide them? Here are five statements that communicate what we are committed to offer and what they can expect from us.
I am committed to:
- having you feel that you belong here. You are a member of this class. You do not have to prove yourself, and you do not have to pretend to be someone you are not. You are accepted and valued as you are. I will strive to plan learning activities that meet your needs, tap your interests, and build your skills.
- your success. My goal is to help you not only believe in yourself and your potential, but also to commit to doing your best. Together we will figure out what we need to do to make your success possible. I have lots of experience and loads of ideas and strategies to share. I will be ready to support you when you need me. With us working together, I am confident that you will succeed.
- helping you discover and develop your talents. You may know what your talents are, or you may not. You may not even be convinced that you have something special within you, but you do. Of this I am confident. We will launch this search together. I know that we will succeed.
- not give up on you. You will struggle at times. You may even be tempted to give up on yourself, but I will nudge, budge, and badger you because I know that you can do it. The fact is that I cannot succeed unless you do. We are in this work together, and I want you to succeed. I may not always approve of your choices and behavior, but I will always value and believe in your potential to grow, learn, and become a better person, learner, and choice-maker.
- making every day an opportunity to begin fresh. We will have difficult days. We may struggle. However, when we return each day, we can have it be a new start, and together, we can make it a better day than the one before it.
You may have additional commitments you want to share with your students. Please add them to those on this list that resonate with you. What is most important is that our students know what to expect from us and that they experience, firsthand, the power of our commitment to them.