Over the last couple of years I’ve been reflecting on the quality of the relationships I have with particularly challenging children. I think I haven’t been true to my core as a teacher. I have forgotten to emphasize the importance of connections with students, especially those that are hard to teach and reach. I have reacted on an emotional level rather teaching these students by modeling appropriate behaviors without passing judgment.
I have felt shame and frustration and have resorted to punitive measures rather than teaching and guiding.
I could blame this on COVID or that I’m close to retirement or that I’m tired or any of a number of excuses that don’t help me move forward on the path to engaging and supporting students. The truth is: I’m not a brand new teacher facing new situations with kids. I am a seasoned teacher facing some familiar student behaviors and academic profiles.
So, I’m not going to blame kids or myself, for that matter.
Instead, I will take deep breaths, get up off the floor and do what’s best for kids…and for me: nurture connections that build relationships. It’s never too late.
Every day is another opportunity to get it right. And, on some days, I do.
This year I am struggling with a particular student who doesn’t follow directions, does not seem to be aware of our routines. Imagine that! (Just kidding!) I’ve tried everything I know to connect with this child so I can better teach them. And I am flummoxed.
To top it off, I feel I have little to no support managing this student’s behaviors that range from non-compliance to deliberate resistance to doing any task that requires sustained attention without an adult sitting side-by-side with them.
But I know that every day I have a fresh opportunity to get it right. That is one of the things I love about teaching.
When confronting a problem of teaching, I take a deep dive into the professional literature. I usually come up full. This time it’s Teachers These Days, Stories and Strategies for Reconnection by Jody Carrington and Laurie McIntosh.
Jody and Laurie remind readers to focus on relationships: building them, nourishing them and repairing them. Even on the days that I’m tired, I need to remain curious about my students so I can learn, engage and teach all of them.
I’d love to read your thoughts about these issues. Feel free to le leave a comment below.
2 thoughts on “Relationships, Relationships, Rlationships”
Oh my goodness, this blog is my life! All the feelings that you’ve written about are things that are so true with many of us, the best one is to continue that relationship work. I’m encouraged about your reading and have bought this book myself. Thank you for your honesty in your struggles. It helps the rest of us see we are not alone.
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Thank you for your encouragement, Darin. Sometimes I feel alone with these situations. I think you’ll enjoy the book and will want to use some of her ideas in your classroom. Stay well.
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