How to Teach Fourth Grade, revisited.

There is no secret to teaching nine and ten-year old students. There is no magic bullet to create a positive learning environment for children. Elementary level teaching is foremost, hard work. That said, it is the most rewarding profession I can imagine. The following, in no specific order, is a body of thought on how I feel teachers should approach their craft. I  may not know much, but I do now how to teach littles. Special thanks to Angela Maiers, for inspiring me and reminding me what really matters.

Please feel free to add your comments.

Each day, teach:

  • passion. Portray that there is no more interesting job other than teaching.
  • empathy. Understanding others is unending and infinitely rewarding.
  • awareness. Know thyself, it makes all the difference.
  • simplicity.Thoreau wrote, “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.” This alone makes a life well-lived.
  • respect. Respect all who you come across, each day and be your own number-one fan.
  • acceptance. Accept the things that are out of your control. You will soon find that most everything is out of your control.
  • precision. Teach students precision and accuracy.
  • optimism. Believe that the world is truly getting better each day.
  • flexibility. Live in the moment, each moment.
  • joy. Life is, for the most part, wonderful. Have fun.
  • forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others each day.
  • technique. Pay heed to more effective approaches and learn from those better than you.
  • control. Be yourself. Try desperately to never lose your cool.
  • finesse. Communicate with precision, specificity, foresight and clarity. Think always before speaking.
  • perspective. Learn to quickly prioritize whilst teaching.
  • humility. Life is incredibly humbling. I am discovering this more and more each day.
  • praise. Compliment others as well as yourself each day.
  • humor. Be the class clown. All love to laugh.
  • an appreciation for timing. Understand that the human brain acquires information in small chunks. Moderate your lectures.
  • reflection. Reflect each day and learn from your practice.
  • excellence. Do not accept consistently substandard work from yourself, students or colleagues.
  • need for clarity. Be clear and know that the smartest kid in your class needs to hear something three times before it can “sink in.”
  • meaning. Make every learning encounter meaningful to the greatest number of students. Use props, tell stories, analogize daily.
  • by example Read, write, and appreciate the beauty of mathematics.
  • with spunk. Smile often and enjoy what you do. There is no alternative.
  • focus. Be aware of the enduring understandings of each lesson.
  • process. Provide evidence of learning and demand that your student learn from each assessment.
  • wonder. Learn something new each day. Celebrate simply each time.
  • structure. Be time-bound and consistently excellent.
  • media. Use media sparingly and only to further the task at hand.
  • support. Encourage collaboration from students’ parents, administrative team and your peers. This job is impossible without their support.
  • persistence. Never give up on anyone.
  • hope. Get out of the business if you have little hope that the world is getting better.
  • efficiency. Every moment counts. Make use of time wisely.
  • authority. Be a model of positive living.
  • poise. Model correct behavior as if your job depended upon each action.
  • momentum. Realize that students are born with an innate need to learn. Feed off this and build momentum for an engaging classroom from day one.
  • warmth. Be inviting to all that enter your workspace.
  • enthusiasm. Do not be afraid to dance when excited, or happy. The kids love when an adult spontaneously “boogies.”
  • poetry. Teach the students “poetry is like bread.” Enjoyed by all.
  • reverence. Seek help from master teachers.

That is enough for now.

5 thoughts on “How to Teach Fourth Grade, revisited.

  1. Not a bad list either for teachers of adult literacy, adult basic education and GED.

  2. Kate,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree.

  3. Very thoughtful writing. Wow…to think good teachers do all of these things many times a day!

    • Terry,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Please feel free to share with your teammates.Have a great school year.

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