The Seven Needs of a Student
There are basic essentials a laborer needs to be successful at his or her job such as the proper tools in working condition, good training, perhaps attire, and a safe workplace. Likewise, a student has basic needs that are foundational to success. One might actually call them “rights.” Whatever they are called, when a teacher provides all of these needs consistently, the student’s chance for success has been greatly increased.
One: To Know the Rules
Clear boundaries and consequences, in addition to known expectations are important to establish the culture of the class.
“We are a family. Everything we say and do in this room is to help each other.”
Two: Challenging Achievement Expectations
Tough but reasonable expectations for all students that prevent them from selling themselves short.
“Don’t compare yourself to someone else but never cease trying to become the best you can be. You are you. You will always be a second-best somebody else. What is your potential?”
Three: Thoughtful but Sustained Pressure to Meet Expectations
Persistent and incessant monitoring of student progress and reminders to keep striving for the goals. Don’t let them give up. Keep refueling in whatever way necessary.
“We both know this last paper was not your best. You are way better than this. Please take the time to check your work, polish it up, and bring it up to your standards. If you need help, ask me or another student. Don’t let yourself down. Come on.”
Four: A Safe Environment for Expressing Opinions and Ideas
Freedom to contribute verbally. Don’t tolerate suppressive comments about what someone has said.
“Class, a big part of gaining knowledge in this world is hearing what others have to say. That’s what we do here in this class. If you have something you want to contribute, everyone here, including me, wants to hear it and it won’t be judged negatively by anyone. Keep ideas flowing.”
Five: A Feeling of Belonging to the Group
Students need to know they are important to the class. Being able to contribute is important. Recognize effort every time you see it.
“We missed you yesterday.”
“Yes, Andrea. Thank you for saying that because I would have forgotten.”
Six: A Legitimate Chance to Earn More Responsibility
Give students jobs but make them earn them. Provide a way for a student to earn the right to a more difficult and, perhaps more important job.
“If you have perfect attendance this month, you’ll have earned the right to take roll for me.”
“When these problems get easy for you, I have some more challenging ones and we’ll consider them extra credit.”
Seven: A Exemplary Role Model
A teacher whose ethics are above reproach, has deep subject knowledge, and loves students as well as the subject being taught.
(Appreciation to Wendy Ghiora, Ronald Gallimore, and Brad Ermeling