Imagine how successful and impactful you would be if you got to the point where you and your students were actually enjoying learning together! That's the goal of the Love Learning System. Join us as we explore how the Love Learning Together System helps you teach effectively without the stress by helping you master classroom management, time management, student engagement, and more!
the love learning together system
The Love Learning Together System is intended to help you get to a point where you are "firing on all cylinders" as a teacher. You are enjoying learning with your students, you are making a difference in their lives, and they are succeeding. And you’re doing all this without sacrificing your own well-being and being stressed all of the time. This is the system that we walk people through in the mentorship program.
We can get so overwhelmed in the many responsibilities that come with teaching that we don’t even know what to tackle first, so the order of this system is also really important. You’ll realize why as you continue reading.
Why is it called the Love Learning Together System? As we were thinking about what it takes to be a successful teacher, it occurred to us that if you and your students are enjoying learning together, that means a lot of things are going the right way, your students are going to do well, and you’re making a difference in their lives.
We start with classroom management because it is really the foundation. Without it, things fall apart, teachers get frustrated, and students can’t learn. You can’t tackle student engagement or other classroom problems if you haven’t first established order in your classroom. If your class is chaotic, every other aspect of teaching is way more difficult. But once you solve classroom management, you solve a lot of other problems and lay a foundation that allows you to work on the next thing.
Classroom management can be tough to learn on your own using lots of trial and error. The mentorship program gives you the tools you need quickly to flatten that learning curve. Two keys to classroom management are:
- Having clear expectations and
- Holding students to them
This is simple (only 2 steps!), but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Classroom management is really nuanced and sometimes you can be doing a lot of things right, but just one missing element can really frustrate your best efforts and throw everything off.
Once your classroom management is on a good path, it’s time to focus on balance for yourself. If you’re continually overwhelmed, stressed, and working too many hours, you’re going to burn out fast. You’re also not bringing your best self to your students. You’re going to have low energy and be irritable. Your key roles outside of the classroom will suffer (roles such as church member, spouse, parent, etc.).
Finding balance isn’t saying, “I’ll only work these certain hours;” it’s about devoting time to the right things. You need to spend your time on the things that actually matter and really help your students.
We need a rhythm other than constant exhaustion. There are some years, like your first year teaching or teaching during a pandemic, that require extra time, but that’s short-term. Long-term, you have to find a pace that is sustainable and 100% do-able. The keys to this are:
- Intentionality and
Intentionality means setting our schedule by prioritizing the most important things in school and home. Creativity means thinking, "How can I accomplish this goal without it taking so much time?”
engaging our students
This is the step where you start looking at your actual teaching. Are the students involved, active, and learning what I’m teaching? If not, what can I do to pull them in and keep them motivated, engaged, and wanting to learn?
Our goal is to create a class that students enjoy and want to be a part of. That doesn’t mean that you sacrifice academics for fun. The goal is learning, not fun, but you want to set the class up in such a way that most students enjoy the class. Think back to when you were a student in the classes you enjoyed- sometimes they were classes with the most work, but the class was well-done and you were learning and doing things that felt interesting and relevant.
You want a class that students look back on in 5 years and think, “Wow, that was a good class.” The immediate response of students can be hit or miss and lacking immaturity, so it's better to think of them in 5 years than currently.
How do you create a class that is engaging? We go back to that first step of classroom management. Students don’t like a class that is out of control. It doesn’t foster learning, it creates stress, and it erodes respect for the teacher. That’s why classroom management is the first step.
The second question is, “How do I make sure this material is understandable?” A lot of problems arise when students are confused about what they’re learning. We need to teach the material in a way that they “get it,” otherwise, it’s very disengaging and leads to students goofing off instead. At least 75-80% of students should be tracking with you while you teach. If not, you need to go back and re-teach that material. No other engagement strategies will work if your students don’t understand what they’re learning.
Staying strong as a teacher
We best serve our students when we prioritize our own physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness rather than running ourselves ragged.
If you’re a Christian teacher, your spiritual walk is perhaps your most overlooked asset as a teacher. We need God and we need to work in partnership with Him. Your relationship with Christ is key to everything in this system.
We also need to learn how to process our anxieties and frustrations so that they don’t overwhelm us. We have to learn to trust God and surrender to Him. This allows us to work from a place of joy, rather than a place of stress.
Our physical wellbeing is important, too, because it affects our energy level, which is really necessary in teaching. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference, like drinking enough water, taking supplements, getting enough sleep, exercising, and good nutrition.
reaching their hearts
This is the whole point, right? The whole reason we became teachers was to make a difference and true lasting change happens on a heart level. When we create a classroom environment that is controlled, when we have balance in our own lives and are spending our time on what matters most, when our students are engaged and learning, when we have prioritized our physical and emotional wellness, we are going to make a powerful difference.
We need to realize as Christians that our lives aren’t split. Spiritual life and work life are not separate. Everything we do is tied together and everything in this system is tied together as well. Every area that we work on allows us to make a bigger difference in what is most important to us- reaching our students.
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