This weeks topic came from a combination of two television shows that drew me in to the power of human connection. One was a news program that I happened to catch as I was flipping through channels so I can't give credit to the program, or the individual the story was centered around. The second was a Police Drama, that revolves around a family involved in law enforcement - "Blue Bloods."
I watched an episode of "Blue Bloods" where two police officers came upon a runaway. In attempting to figure out what should be done with this pre-teen young man, one officer warned her partner, something to the effect- You can't save them all, you can't get too invested personally. This statement struck me that I felt horrified by that advice and also saw the reality in the words. I felt like we can never give up on a child- that we can't dismiss them due to a behavior we dislike. It is our responsibility to find a way to help all students find a connection in our schools. We may not be the person they go to for advice or to share the struggles of their lives, but we can be compassionate. We can assist them in finding someone who can fill that role for them. School is so much more than Common Core Curriculum, Standards Based Grading, Initiatives, and TESTING! School is about making interpersonal connections. The Officer in the show went out of his way to be a positive influence in the young man's life, and by his simple gestures showed this child that he was valued, and his life mattered. You won't find that in our job description, but it is with out a doubt one of the most important aspects of our profession.
In the other episode, I saw a man who was a custodian at a school. He was taking on responsibilities above and beyond his job title. He had developed a more impactful role- connecting to students, guiding them, challenging them to walk the path to a brighter future. He went out of his way to talk to young people give them advice and truly listen to them. The potential impact these relationships have on these students is immeasurable. It also got me thinking that every person in a school has the potential to build or destroy relationships. It also made me think we're these students connecting to their teachers and admins or was this man an anomaly? Hopefully there was a culture where all adults in the building were making similar efforts to connect and foster these positive relationships.
When students leave our charge, it is unlikely they will truly grasp all the complex content we attempt to get them to master but they will undoubtedly remember the relationships built on trust compassion and true understanding.
Q1 Why did you go into the profession of education? What was it about education/teaching that drew you in?
Q2 What were your dreams and aspirations for yourself when you began your career? what were the things you envisioned doing as an educator?
Q3 What has gotten in the way of those aspirations/dreams? What goals did you fall short? (It is okay to admit you didn't get there-we must first ID our failures and shortcomings before we can make a plan for growth)
Q4 Why do you continue to stay in edu with the addition of more testing more demands on time less financial rewards?
Q5 You have set the stage for why you entered the field of education and your aspirations and areas in need of work. What goals will you establish to get you inline with your original aspirations?
Q6 What actions will you undertake for the next year, months, weeks and daily that will allow you to rekindle your fire and achieve those goals?
Q7 How will you demonstrate to the students that they matter and are valuable to you? How will you show them you are in their corner, their support system and will be there for them?
Create and share a visual (could be a meme, sign, poster, short video) that outlines your Goal(s) for achieving the idealized version of yourself as an educator.
I hope you will revisit this at the end of the year, and reflect on what you accomplished and make revisions of your action plan to continue your journey.
Coming up short is possible- FAILING to improve is not an option!