I recently talked to a friend that was getting a new student. She told me about how the mom walked into the room and the first thing she said to her was that her daughter was bad. This was in front of the child! This child has no positive expectations to live up to. Why try and be good if her mom thinks she is bad? :(
I often do not want to know about behavior problems from the previous year because we all want a fresh start. Plus, there are so many factors that can add up to a child have a difficult year....especially in terms of his/her behavior.
As teachers, we know without a doubt that we will have difficult and challenging students. Students that leave us doubting and questioning if we are doing a good job. We find ourselves crying over these students and feeling frustrated and helpless in dealing with them and still trying to teach our other 19 students. Their parents often do not know what to do to help their child or the parent might want to put blame on the teacher and the school.
I find myself realizing I need to try and be the one to build the bridge to their heart. Rita Pierson said in best in her TED Talk.
I tell my kiddos often that if I didn't care about them I would not care how they acted. I also tell them that until they get on the bus or in their car on the last day of school that I will be expecting and helping them to be their best. As we work on building relationships, I want my students to feel safe enough to be able to tell me if they don't feel that I care about them or if I have hurt their feelings.
Rita Pierson said in her TED Talk that "students don't learn from teachers they don't like." This is true and can be difficult when we have students that we find difficult to like. So, this when when we need to be trying to plan those engaging lessons and providing opportunities for the class to laugh together....and as Rita said, "become a good actor and act like we do like them!" Lol!
So many of our kiddos that have behavior issues often have more baggage than we do as grown-ups. I cannot even fathom what they have been through and seen. They often put up this "tough" facade to keep from being hurt again or as a way to cry out for love.
Our kiddos just need to know that we are going to be there for them. This song always makes me think of the kind of teacher I want to try and be.
Now, I also think I need to go out and adopt a new pet. :)
Here is Rita Pierson's TED Talk.
As you walk into your classroom each day, you work to cover your objectives and each item on your lesson plans. But I think it is important to remember, that before we reach their heads we must touch their hearts. We need to be the champion that says "I'm never going to let you down or give up on you."
From My Heart to Yours,