Month: August 2013

Building & Managing Relationships

Building relationships with students & colleagues is essential to a school finding success in this storm of standardized testing.  Many times we do not take time to in invest in the relationships with others, because we feel that other things are more important.  Some believe that the subject content is the most important part of the school day.  Others may feel that intervention time, or another allotted amount of time is the most important.  I am not questioning whether these times throughout our day are important, because they are.  However the time you take each day to build relationships with your students is & should be the most important time of your day.

It takes less time to let a student know how much they mean to you then it does to teach your content material.  A simple handshake, pat on the shoulder, a word of encouragement goes along way in building relationships with your students.  Our students want to get to know us not just as their teachers, but as individual outside the classroom.  They want to know that you are real with them & not just playing teacher when you are in the classroom.  By building relationships with our students daily, we will not have to worry about the assessments being passed down by the powers that be.  Students will learn from those that they have developed relationships with, & exceed every expectation or assessment that comes before them.

We must also develop those same relationship with our colleagues.  If we all band together & work together as a team, student achievement will increase.  Educators are more willing to share their ideas & failures with those that they have an established relationship with.  Being able to go talk to other educators, to work through challenges together, & trusting their advice is invaluable.  I have been blessed to have formed some great relationships with colleagues both near & far.

Establishing those relationships are only the beginning.  They must be build with trust & acceptance for our differences.  Building relationships in your school climate & beyond is what will unlock the hidden door for student success.  These relationships must also be maintained & managed much like a garden.  If we never visit the seeds that we have sewn, how will we know when our garden needs tending?  We must work to keep our relationships ever growing & expanding.  Unfortunately, as any gardener knows, you must pull some weeds, prune some limbs, & even remove some relationships that have not produced positive outcomes.  But with removing those relationships, we now have more room in our garden to build new, positive, & exciting relationships that we can plant the seeds for!  Building & maintaining relationships is hard work, & they are not created or managed on their own.  However, putting the time & energy into your relationships, you will reap rewards that make all the work well worth it! Handshake_0

Expect the Unexpected

There are times in my life when patterns emerge out of no where, & cause me to begin thinking very deeply about who I am, where I am going, & what I want to do when I get there.  This has been the case the past couple of weeks.  I have been reading Teach Like a Pirate for the past month & the more I read the book, the more drawn I am to this philosophy.  I don’t know if I am really drawn to it, or that it feels very natural to me.  I have thought of myself as an out of the box thinker.  I am willing to try anything once (except for skydiving or  jumping from extreme heights).  I challenge myself to look at the bigger picture and then separate it into smaller puzzle pieces that when put together, can create a more beautiful picture then I originally began with.  Most of the time, I become frustrated with the process before I get to see the product.  Every once in a while, I stay the course and get to enjoy the beautiful outcome.

I stumbled upon this blog post from Marc & Angel called 10 habits You Must Quit to Be Happy a few days ago.  As I looked through their list of habits, I found that I have all of these 10 habits that show them selves from time to time.  Some are there more than others, but several are apparent more often then I would like to admit.  I find myself being a much happier person when I am just being me.  I do not know why I have let these habits come into my life and steal my happiness away.  I see these habits in many different significant areas of my life.  Work, home, professional learning opportunities, & many more areas that I did not realize.  Extremely eye opening read for me!
Within a couple of days of reading this blog, I found another blog that dropped me to the floor like a rock.  Dr. Justin Tarte wrote a blog post called My Challenge to You & when I begin reading it, it was very eye opening.  Many of the quotes that were listed, I have either said outright, said in a different way, or thought but never actually spoke.  Even though I have not personally met Dr. Tarte, I know he was talking directly to me.  I must change my own thinking in order to make the impact that I desire in education. The negativity must be pushed to the side in order to positively effect student success.

These three experiences are challenging me into becoming the educator I need to be.  To teach with passion everyday!  To stand in the gap for those with differences despite how others may view me.  To leave the negativity to those that enjoy gossip & drama.  To be happy & grateful for the person I am, & what I have to offer the world.  A great man once told me that I would always be under-appreciated for how intelligent I was.  He said it was my cross to bear.  I have reflected on these words many times.  I may not be appreciated by those who do not understand why or what I do, but those that it matters to will always see the true me & what I can do.  Teach Like A Pirate gives me validation for who I am as an educator & a person.  I must shed those things that bring me down in life, so that I may become the pirate in education I am destined to become.