Friday, August 23, 2013

Who am I? Looking from the Heart

Our first day of school is on Monday. Early in the summer I already knew who many of my new kiddos would be. I also knew in which classes each of my kiddos from this past year would be (and the classes many other kiddos would be as well). Knowing those 2 things I must admit something to you....I realized how easy it is to make some judgments.

Have you ever looked at your class role and felt a little bit depressed or nervous by a name you saw on there? Have you ever wanted to go tell the next year's teacher about a particular child before they even have the chance to meet them? I typically don't put a lot of value into what another teacher has to say about one of my in coming kiddos because I know so much can change when the dynamics of a classroom change...but I am also guilty of telling a 2nd grade teacher about a child that *might* be a stinker even though I might also be telling that teacher of ways to reach that child that worked for me (and others) and made a huge difference.

I also realized earlier this week that I have been guilty at different times in my career of talking about a class that is really __________ or __________. I know that myself and others have shared about a student that is __________, __________. and __________.....and many of the adjectives that fill those blanks might not always be very positive. Those descriptions are also usually strings of letters that make us twitch- ADD, ADHD, ODD, ED...and our brains are thinking OMGoodness! :)

I thought about what it would be like if my principal were to call each of the parents of my new kiddos into to her office to share about all of my faults and weaknesses before they even had the chance to meet me. Would they be able to see my strengths when they finally had the opportunity to meet me? Of course not....they would always be seeing those faults first.

I then remembered one of the most profound sentences out of the Conscious Discipline book...."What we say to a child becomes their inner voice for the rest of their lives." Think how easy it is to remember the negative words of just one teacher...but stop and realize for a minute that even though you might not have said mean or hurtful words to a child that our attitude and thinking effect our body language and interactions with that child.

How can we really help each other when we focus on the weaknesses or use those weaknesses as an excuse instead of pushing ourselves more to make a connection with those students we often see as "difficult"?

Each day each one of us has the potential to be the ONE person in a child's life to make a difference. If we are not working to make those connections and touch the hearts of each child in our room than it is easy to head down the road to becoming an ineffective teacher. After a child has just 1 year in a class with an ineffective teacher, it takes 3 years for that child to make the gains that were lost.

Our Superintendent today had us pull out our phones and find a picture of the most important child or children in our lives. We then had to imagine how we would feel if that child was placed in a classroom with an ineffective teacher. I don't even have to tell you where our thoughts and hearts went with that.

Imagine what a difference could be made if each child in our classroom thought they were a priceless treasure to their teacher....a teacher who loved them even when they really were being a stinker.

The children in our classrooms are only going to be as great as we believe they can be....how we see them and treat them will be the legacy they take with them when they leave our classrooms.


From My Heart to Yours,

17 heart notes:

Miss Trayers said...

Great post Heather! I'm reading the book Mindsets right now and I think fits right along with what you are saying. Sometimes teachers have a fixed mindset about a child's potential and there's no way a child can succeed if a teacher doesn't believe they will. I've seen kids thrive in a different classroom-just because a teacher believed in them when others had written them off.

NotJustChild'sPlay

Carolyn Kisloski said...

Heather, this is beautiful. I love it and will never forget it. I loved the part about the principal sharing my faults with parents before they even met me. That is a great thing to remember. Thank you for this. I love your posts. <3
Carolyn
Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

Jennifer Laffin {Mrs. Laffin's Laughings} said...

What a beautiful post! It literally brought tears to my eyes. One of the things that I love the most about a new year is getting a "do over" -- for both my students and myself. It is a new year for all of us and it is exciting to think about how much we will soar. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts!

Jennifer
Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

Danielle said...

Heather, I think every teacher should read this post at the beginning of each year. You so clearly expressed yourself and I love the poem. Good luck as you start your school year!

Danielle
Carolina Teacher

The Polished Teacher said...

I am always inspired by your words of heartfelt wisdom. This post was no different. I am going into this school year with no judgement. Thanks for sharing that poem too. It was beautiful!

ThePolishedTeacher

Sandy Welch said...

Your posts mean so much to me! I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this very subject. I've taught for 30 years now and never want the "heads up" news from prior teachers. By the way, I received a D in 8th grade sewing. It devastated me and I only recently attempted to sew again. What we say to children absolutely effects them forever. Tread softly.

Swersty said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post! Thank you for the reminder that words are powerful and what we say can have a positive OR negative impact on impressionable young minds.
Swersty’s Swap Shop

Miss Lifesaver said...

This is such a great post! I've always tried to take any advice about a student with a grain of salt because I prefer to make my own impressions. I never thought, though, about comparing it to the way students or administrators may talk about us, giving others the opportunity to judge us before meeting us too. What a great reminder as the new year begins to give everyone a fresh start!

misty said...

Thank you for this! I am SO guilty of allowing another teacher's experience with a child to color my view of them. Often the child turns out completely different for me. I am working hard at not prejudging my little friends before they come to me and just loving them as is and learning who they are growing to be! Heather your open and honest posts just speak so strongly to my heart. Thank you!

Mrs. Lindsey said...

After a rough day today this is just what I needed to read! Thanks Heather!

Lindsey
Lovin’ Kindergarten

Nancy said...

I have a very challenging group this year so I needed to hear this! Could you tell me where I could find your posts about how you start your year with CD and the commitments. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

Growing Firsties said...

Oh, Heather, amazing, lovely, wonderful Heather. You've done it AGAIN....posted EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

Hugs upon hugs upon hugs to you, sweet friend.

Smiles - Lisa
Growing Firsties

Nancy VandenBerge said...

You are such an amazing inspiration to all!! New teachers and us veterans! May you be blessed by your sweet littles this year!!
HUGS!!
Nancy
firstgradewow.blogspot.com