(Originally posted 10/23/13)
Today I had the chance to spend a day at an event with over 150 teenagers from 17 different school districts. I was “gobsmacked” at what they had to say. Over and over again I heard the same message. What we do matters a great deal….and what we teach about doesn’t.
They told us that the pressures are everywhere and they know that they aren’t wise enough to deal with it all. They shared that they didn’t know how to juggle the demands of school, work, activities, family responsibilities, friends and romantic relationships. They said that they had received few explanations on HOW to do things, and many demands that things be done right.
So, it is the little things that we do that make a difference. I asked a group of students what their teachers did that conveyed understanding, support and caring. Here are some of their responses:
● When a teacher lets me borrow a pen/pencil without embarrassing me.
● When a teacher holds a door open for me and says good morning.
● When a teacher makes eye contact in the hallway and says hi.
● When I miss a question and the teacher says, “I see how you might have thought that.”
● When a teacher doesn’t let kids walk all over him.
● When a teacher stops kids from making out in the hallway.
● When a teacher doesn’t allow cursing in her room.
● When a teacher stands in the hall between classes to keep an eye on things.
● When a teacher compliments something I’ve done.
● When a teacher doesn’t let a class know who the favorites are.
● When a teacher apologizes.
● When a teacher explains something that I don’t understand, just because I don’t understand
● When a teacher checks to see if I understand.
● When we can laugh in class…not at or about people but at life.
Not one thing about lesson planning, assessment, mastery learning, critical thinking or documentation. Not that those things don’t have their place…but not in the hearts of our students.
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