Be a Champion for ALL of our kids
This week I had the amazing opportunity to teach 3 blocks of Intro To Computers. It was my first time having High School students solely to myself in longer, 77-minute, blocks. The VERY first thing I did was attempt to connect with students. I spent time with the students…saying hello, asking about their schedules and lives, simply talking to them. Each and EVERY one. If you know me, you know I can be loud, boisterous, and sunshiney (to the point where I can annoy some people). I engaged with the students and invested that time early, to get them working – which they did! We are a community and these are all of our kids. I went into teaching because I LOVE kids – all of them. I have a soft spot in my heart for the students who are the most work. The most difficult kids are those who need the sense of community the most. It’s not screen time, it’s not parenting, its community and we need to provide that for many of our students who only find it here, at school. Taking the time to connect with the students first, and show that I do care, pays me dividends in the end in terms of students working towards my objective.
Recently I attended a workshop by Jimmy Casas author of Culturize. He challenged me to think differently, stop blaming external factors, and ask myself what can I be doing? What are my fears that cause me to blame?
What we model is what we get.
The investment of time means a lot to people. Are you accessible to people? Do you have an open-door policy – and DO they walk through your door? If someone walks by and you don’t say anything it’s a missed opportunity, a missed opportunity to connect or model the behavior we want others to have. Model the behaviors that you want to see repeated. If appropriate and positive interaction is what you desire, model this yourself with others in the room and the greater classroom community. We have a responsibility to build our culture. Lead Learning and build culture – this is our job. See yourself as a community builder – first thing, think: What am I doing to build a community? Everything we do is based on the connection we make with students, and as much as I love technology – this does not replace the connection we can make face-to-face. The investment of time isn’t happening in many classrooms across the country….are we modeling the poor behavior we see in our students? Subtle things we do impact our culture in negative ways. When we complain about a student – that negative behavior is the same behavior we see in him/her. Invest the time, face to face, first thing – the time you take now will reduce the time you could spend later trying to get your objectives accomplished.
Tech Tools to Assist:
- Accessibility to the community:
- When we may need more than face to face…Flipgrid: Using video to build a positive classroom culture
- New Grammarly Feature – TONE of emails:
Remember what you said when you were in that interview chair – what is your WHY? Come back to that. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Teaching is hard, but when you’re tired – go find the child. Don’t wait for someone to come around and change your attitude…go engage with people. Go sit with a student and engage. Fill your own cup up, don’t wait for others to come and fill it.
When you know your why your what has more impact because you are walking in or towards your purpose. – Michael Jr, Comedian
The Blame Game
Clarity proceeds confidence. When students do not follow instructions we need to resist blaming the students and say to ourselves “clarity proceeds confidence” and try to be more clear. Show students what excellence looks like, then coach them through it. Stay in there with feedback until they get to the level you want them to be at. We’re delegating too quickly when students are not yet at the level we want them to be at. If we delegate the task too early, we exhaust ourselves with trying to get there. We look for external things to blame for behavior – and we spend more time on that than trying to understand the behavior itself. Ask yourself – I wonder what happened to the student that they act that way? I had a student this week who simply sat and let me know they were going to just sit, and not do anything. The child wasn’t disruptive. A friend told me, “That student is working harder than anyone in the class. For that student, it is harder to simply come to school and just be present than it probably is for the student next to him/her doing the work.” I had to really ask myself, why? I didn’t ask the student to engage and I didn’t kick the student out, I just went and sat with the student. I stated that I cared, that I was worried and that I hope the student is okay. I didn’t ask the student anything – I did not pry. By the end of class, I received a smile from the student and he/she stated, “It’s not you.” If I continued in the class, I would’ve continued this routine with the student and am confident, eventually, I would get this student to engage in the work of the class. However, I would need to invest the time. Every student is worth that time.
Tech Tools to Assist:
- Use video as an alternative for written instruction, to show examples, and more provide clarity
- Communication Tools
Don’t be the lid on the Tuna can…Don’t give ALL the reasons you can’t do something. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Ask yourself – DO YOU WANT TO BE GREAT? The world WANTS to be average and tries to pull us back…Just accept that you can never be average. Everybody wants to be a part of something great!
Take care, everyone,
Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟