The Teacher Effect

One of the things that I love about teaching fifth graders is what I call the “teacher effect”. Yes, I just made that up. What is it? The standard dictionary definition would look something like this. The ability to influence students in a positive manner due to your role as a teacher.

Here’s a specific example of how it looks like in my classroom. I tell my students about a new children’s book I just read. I give them a brief synopsis, then tell the students I will put the book in the classroom library. Then, I ask the students who would like to borrow the book. Without fail, almost the entire class shoots their hands up, excited and hoping to be chosen. I bring our class cup with colorful popsicle sticks with the name of all the students in the class. I choose names randomly, deciding on the order for who will borrow the books first.

A few days to a week later, there is a buzz growing about the book. As students start talking about it and what they think about it, I overhear conversations about it! I have a few particular students this year, that are always asking me for recommendations. They seem to think that I know all the “good” books.

I finally had some time to read a few really good children’s books this past weekend. I absolutely loved The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo, and immediately started doing a class read aloud with it. I also read So B. It. by Sarah Weeks. I was reading the ending in the hair salon and had to hold back the tears! I just finished rereading The Hunger Games (first book) as well. What can I say, except that I am soo excited for the movie to come out in March. Of course, I told my students all about this. I’m pretty sure all the copies of So B. It & The Tiger Rising are checked out by my students!

How have you seen the “teacher effect” working in your classroom? 🙂

For more slice of life entries, go to two writing teachers.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out two apples a day yet, please do so. My new teaching blog project is up and running finally!

10 thoughts on “The Teacher Effect

  1. Stacey says:

    Fifth graders are wonderful like that… they want to read what you’re reading. Oh how I miss my days in the classroom for reasons like “the teacher effect.”

  2. Mrs. L says:

    Do you have the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy ready to go? I couldn’t have stood to take a pause between books! It really is amazing the influence we have, positive AND negative. What a great reminder to pay attention to our words and attitudes.

    • jee young says:

      I do have the rest of the trilogy…but I already read it before, so I don’t feel as much of a rush to read the next one immediately! 🙂

  3. Tara says:

    You have three wonderful books there! The “teacher effect” is such a great way of looking at the relationship between teacher and student – I love have all that positive energy we work so hard to “put out there” come right back to us through our energized students. It makes teaching magical!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    All three books so good. I love the term you created ‘the teacher effect’. Sometimes I’m glad for it, others I don’t want to influence too much, want the students to make up their own opinions. But for reading & recommendations-very helpful! Thanks!

  5. elsie says:

    I love your new term. I always called it “blessing a book.” The book seemed to be blessed if I ever made a comment about it. Now I do it with teachers instead of students. It’s fun to see a book show up in a class after I have read it to the teachers. They love it, but their bank accounts usually suffer after I’ve been with them.

  6. JenniferM says:

    Your description of your students’ excitement to be the first to try out a new recommendation was so cute! Great visual, and thanks for sharing their enthusiasm!

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