Connecting with our students

As teachers, we know that there is more to our jobs than sharing content and enhancing student skills. We understand intuitively that in order to fully reach our students we need to connect with them and create the right atmosphere for learning. The research of Dr. John Hattie confirmed this when concluding that the most effective way to improve education was to raise the quality of pupil-teacher interactions.

Below is a list of strategies that can help you establish healthy, meaningful relationships with your students and interact in a manner that is healthy and fulfilling.

  • Set the proper tone. Find ways with which to positively engage students from the outset. Greet them as they enter the room with a “good morning” and a high-five. Smile when you see them and let them know that you’re happy that they’re there. Convey the message that you expect a great day from them and anticipate their success.
  • Create a healthy learning environment. One of the most powerful educational quotes that I have ever read has nothing to do with teaching. The author, former teacher and child psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott, wrote about the central role that teachers play in making the classroom’s “weather.”
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Celebrating Without Our “Things”

On Shemini Atzeres we also have no mitzvos. Unlike the holiday of Succos that precedes it, this day (two in the Diaspora) does not come along with any distinctive commandments, nor does it demand much in terms of advanced preparation. Neither does it seem to have any particular identity; perhaps it is the least understood of all of the Jewish holidays. What exactly is the nature of Shemini Atzeres and why did Hashem include this day in the Jewish calendar?

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Keeping your foot on the pedal

It’s not always so simple to increase production or to quickly find additional talent to bring aboard. There is also a mindset of goal targeting, which affects leaders and their teams. Once the target goal has been met, we naturally shift into low gear and perhaps even want to call it a day, so to speak. Lastly, increased demand may be “slowed” by increased “traffic,” such as rising costs. These could include investments in infrastructure, recruiting, training and the like. For some people all of the extra time and effort needed to service the “new riders” may diminish their enthusiasm and leave business prospects out in the rain.

In order for businesses to respond well to demand hikes, they may wish to consider these strategies:

  1. Plan ahead. It can be very difficult to look down the road when you have to manage the here and now. Successful leaders know, however, that the status quo is usually not where they want to remain indefinitely. Begin by envisioning a better tomorrow and the changes that such a development will require. Develop an action plan for the eventuality (at least in general terms), including how you may adjust administrative roles and meet staffing demands (such as by maintaining a candidate pool). More about that below.
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