11.05.2015

Sometimes It's Frightening

Today I was telling my students the story of how teacher-authors Dave and Shelley Burgess bought us ten ukuleles for our UKE lab when one of them said, "That's so generous." Then he added, "Why would they do that for us?"


I explained that we'd connected on Twitter and that our teachers, as a staff, are studying Teach Like A Pirate this year. I told them that they love it when educators use hooks, strategies to engage and excite students. For fun, I asked my students what hooks they've noticed that I use. And I loved hearing their answers:

*puppets
*friendliness
*kindness
*a smile
*forgiveness
*stations
*ukuleles
*music
*fun games
*funny-ness (yes, humor is a hook!)

It warmed my heart. I especially liked the forgiveness comment, until the student further explained that my classroom is a place where it's okay to make mistakes.
Wait, what? Aren't all classrooms just mistake-making labs?

 Here's a non-negotiable I've learned in my 32 years of service:
Our kids deserve a safe environment to engage, explore and create.
A school where they're reeled in, hook, line, and sinker.
A place where they're firmly planted with permission to bloom and grow. 

In my work, I've had the pleasure over the years of visiting lots and lots of schools where I get to see AmAzInG things happening. With that privilege, I also see lots and lots of areas for improvement and growth. I've witnessed teachers who at frustration point resort to yelling so bad that a student once shared that, "Sometimes it's frightening." My own son experienced this in sixth grade, a scolding so fierce that he was still visibly shaking with fear after school. He stayed scared for days. And weeks. 

The respect we think we're demanding when we yell isn't respect at all. 
It's just fear. 
Don't our kids deserve better than this?

With so many positive approaches to classroom connections and management, two of which include Capturing Kids Hearts and Responsive Classroom Morning Meetings, there's really no need for an educator to be reduced to belittling, to shaming, to screaming. Ever. In fact, when we yell at kids, guess what they learn? Yep, they learn that yelling is okay. 
That yelling will help solve our problems. 
That yelling is an appropriate way to respond to our frustration. 
Or to get our needs met.
Simply put, they learn to yell.

Let me say it one more time: 
 Our kids deserve better.

Click for source ~ @BethHouf blog
 So there you have it, one of the reasons I'm so passionate about finding hooks that invite kids in, and helping reduce the undesirable practices that might chase them away. I don't ever want to hear the words "Sometimes it's frightening" at our school, on my watch. 

Tomorrow I get a chance to help with some Character Counts! implementation training in Angleton. Then next week, I'm headed to the Dallas area to Mansfield ISD to lead a Family Character Night workshop and then work with the school family at Charlotte Anderson Elementary, and I can't wait. I am super proud of the commitment of both of these districts to a creating a caring climate and I'm honored that they'd let me help them build a brighter and better tomorrow.







1 comment:

  1. This post resonates with me in so many ways; as a parent and teacher. Thank you for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete

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