In one-to-one schools, as in all educational settings, the teacher is key to successful student learning. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I'm excited to launch my blog by thanking teachers and describing some of the characteristics of those who teach in a one-to-one setting.
Teachers choose the one-to-one instructional environment because they can invest time in individual students and be part of their journey to success. They customize every variable—curriculum, strategies, assessment, pacing, and relationship building—to craft a program that matches each student's instructional needs and styles and integrates his or her personal interests.
All students work towards the same standards for the same classes, but teachers customize the path toward achieving those standards, tailoring the practice activities and the amount of time needed to individual student needs. They observe students closely and tweak their instructional planning as needed to keep students engaged and on track to meet standards.
Teachers in the one-to-one setting have expertise in their subject area, and are able to communicate their enthusiasm for the subject easily because the setting is more like two people having a conversation than a formal presentation. This helps engage students and includes them in the conversation because they see their teachers as people first, and develop the trust level necessary to be vulnerable enough to ask a question when needed.
Teachers who truly are passionate about their subject area light up when explaining a concept and this kind of excitement is contagious. Even students who have had previous failures or who are intimidated by a particular subject find themselves more easily engaged and enjoying the subject when it is taught with the one-to-one approach because this format makes the teacher and the content so much more accessible than other means of gaining information.
Consider this anecdote from a teacher at Brightmont Academy:
"Through the establishment of a comfortable, unthreatening environment, I have seen the joy of learning restored. In fact, on one occasion I said to a long-time student, 'Nathan, my friend, we need to get started writing this essay now.'
He replied to me, 'Sandy, you're not really like a friend, you're more like part of my family.' "
– Sandy Hinman Makortoff
Excellent teachers are at the core of one-to-one instruction, where they implement best practices in an individualized manner that is not possible in a group or whole class setting. Join me in thanking a teacher today!