Years in Education: 16-20
High School Latin teacher
Q: What do you have in common with your students?
A: So many students wear a mask, hiding hard times at home, anxiety, depression, insecurity. I wore the overachiever mask. I was hiding a huge secret that I didn't address until I was an adult.
I was the victim of child sexual abuse. I know I teach students like me. Perhaps their secrets aren't as extreme, but I know I have students who come to school with a burden they think nobody will understand.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: Teachers are paid to be in the classroom while students are legally required to be there. There is also a huge power differential. Without common ground, students can feel very disconnected and disempowered. Common ground can help foster empathy, trust, and mutual respect, all of which create a better classroom environment.
Dani is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator. Her Innovation Project is teaching teachers skills to navigate hard conversations with students. Follow her on Twitter @danibostick and watch her powerful TEDx talk below.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong