Megan Dulude: Building trust with students
Updated: Apr 14
When Megan Dulude, the Algebra 1 Lead for Clear Springs High School, was in kindergarten, her dad asked her what she wanted to be. She said she wanted to be a teacher and has now been doing just that for 8 years. “I knew it when I was really young and it got validated as I got older,” she said. “I never wavered.”
It was the realization that she wanted to ensure students have someone to turn to with their concerns that kept Megan on track towards becoming a teacher. “I wanted to be someone that the kids could confide in and the kids could go to if they needed anything at all whether academic or emotional,” said Megan. “I want these kids to know they have somebody no matter what.”
For her, teaching math in high school is the perfect place to do this. Students can lack confidence in the early high school years and need great teachers to support them. “They walk in thinking that they are not going to be successful and they walk in with these preconceived notions,” said Megan. “It takes a lot to break those walls down and it takes a lot to get the students to feel confident in themselves and the things that they know.”
The process of breaking down these walls starts on day one in Megan’s classroom. The first step is creating a foundation of trust, so students feel comfortable. She ensures that her students realize that she knows they are human and that things happen. From there, her students begin to trust her and she begins to let them take ownership of their learning.
The focus on trust extends to Megan’s lesson plans too. She said that “Whenever I think about developing a lesson, I think about where I need to start this for the kids to immediately feel successful.” This particular approach pays off down the line. Later in the school year, “they trust that everything I put in front of them has a purpose and has a reason,” she said.
Megan said that this is absolutely necessary for a productive learning environment. “Freshmen need a reason why they are doing something,” she said. “I talk to them like they are adults and I explain everything all the time.” Although this takes a lot of effort, Megan sees this willingness to do what’s good for your students and not what’s easy as an essential part of being a good teacher. She said that your decisions as a teacher affect student growth, so you have to do what is best for them even if it is not the easiest thing for you. “The kids are the heart of what you are doing,” she said.
Photos courtesy of Megan Dulude