Learning Manifesto


Being in education is one of the most fulfilling professions, and it provides an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on the lives of students and teachers alike. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to help students develop their knowledge, skills, and character, as well as cultivate a love of learning that will stay with them throughout their lives. As a future administrator, I will have the ability to support and guide teachers in creating effective learning environments that encourage academic and personal growth. Moreover, I could also work towards improving the education system by advocating for policies that promote equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Ultimately, being a caring teacher and administrator would enable me to contribute to society by shaping the minds and futures of our future generations.

 However, teaching through a pandemic, has taught me several valuable lessons.  I was so excited in 2021, to go back to face to face instruction. I believe everyone in my building was relieved to be “back to normal”.  We all knew there would be some gaps, academically; however, I don’t think any of us anticipated the social gaps that we encountered in the 2021-22 school year.  I was not anticipating kids coming to school in pajamas.  I was not anticipating walking into first period class to see students with their baseball caps or cowboys’ hats on top of their heads.  I did not anticipate seeing students laying on the floor to take a nap.  I did not anticipate students not even trying to hide their phones during class.  It was a complete shock.  I had to reflect and look back over the past 2 years.  Most of these sophomores sitting in my English 2 class, had not been inside a classroom since before spring break of their 8th grade year.  And it was quite obvious.  Students struggled with rules, boundaries, and personal responsibility, more than ever.  I frequently had to remind my students they had to take their hats off inside a building.  I had to frequently remind my students that there was a time and place for technology, but it wasn’t while I was giving oral instructions.  I had to frequently remind them that they couldn’t sit in their chair and tip it back, due to safety reasons.  Even getting 15 and 16 year olds to bring a pencil to class, had become challenging.  None of these were challenges I had faced on my campus prior to COVID.  I felt like I was spending more time correcting social behaviors than teaching inferencing and persuasive writing; and honestly, I think the students did too.  But I had that breakthrough moments right after Christmas break.  I had a conversation with each of my classes, addressing that I understand this transition back to face to face has been really difficult for them as students.  I explained them that it was difficult for us educators as well; and that as educators we really were not prepared for post-COVID education.  I saw students nod in agreement.  We had a real conversation about their concerns, their frustrations and even their fears.  A couple weeks later, I had a student come up to me after class and thank me, for acknowledging how students are feeling.  He had never had a teacher who felt really cared about his as a person, not just a test score. 


Building student relationships has always come easy for me.  When people ask me how I do it, I tell them I don’t have a secret and I honestly don’t know what it is that I specifically do, other than to just be authentically real.  I truly believe the way to reach students, is to show them that you are genuinely interested in what is best for them and that you care about them as individuals. It’s about modeling how to learn from failure.  Sometimes my lesson plans fail, and part of my reflection is to get student feedback.  Not from a google survey, but from honest and frank discussions and modeling to them how I reflect and learn from failures. "The relationships between teachers and students in many of the top classrooms in the United States is very strong, with teachers acting as mentors, guides, content experts, and compasses to navigate our increasingly crazy world" (Heick, 2021). 


Education is rapidly changing on a daily basis.  But the importance of building position, teacher-student relationships will never change.  If anything, it might be more important now and, in the future, as ever.  I have and will always put the mental and physical well-being before any grade in the gradebook, or state assessment score.  When students know that you care for them, often times they are more inclined to work harder, because they don’t want to disappoint you. All students come with baggage, that we most often times, know nothing about at the beginning of the school year. But taking the time to have honest and open conversations with them throughout the year, can give you a completely different perspective on them.  It can also help make bonds that last a lifetime. 





Heick, T. (2021, November 18). 10 things public education in America is getting right. TeachThought.


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