Monday, February 20, 2012

It's all about relationships....

     Imagine sitting in a room with 24 other people and a dictator who tells you what to do, when to do it and how to do it.  No one knows your dreams, your interests, your hopes, and your fears.  Would you want to spend 180 days in that room?  No way…

        We learned long ago that relationships matter.  Students need to feel like they are a part of the classroom and that their thoughts and ideas are important.  They need to be able to take a risk, share news about their home and their interests and communicate with others.  If students aren’t more than a number or grade, they will miss out on so much!!!  And guess what?  So will you!

        Now anyone who reads anything about working with students especially students who live in poverty knows that relationships are the number one factor in student performance.  But has anyone ever thought about how it affects the teacher?  Think about it…teachers who take the effort to get to know their students tend to enjoy teaching more.  It’s true!  Some of my best memories include tears of joy with my students when parents return from deployment or (sadly) jail after months of discussions about how much they miss them.  Ever listen to a student belt out a tune because she thinks she is the next Adele? How about conversations the day after American Idol??? Oh yeah….we know!  We love to hear about baseball games, soccer, gymnastics and dance.  Sharing trophies and medals are part of our daily existence.  Have you ever thought about how it makes YOU feel?  In a word…joyful!

        Now teachers are always saying…but that takes TIME. The four letter word in education is TIME.  How do we do it and do it effectively without causing you to lose your mind?  I don't have an easy answer for this...but I will share some stories from my class in the near future...Stay tuned.


  1. Hi Leslie...I found your blog via one blog via another (blogging is like one big maze!). I'm a 3rd grade teacher from GA. We have a sort of a different model at our school--I and one other teacher teach just Science/Social Studies, while the other eight 3rd grade teachers focus on Reading/Writing/Math. It seems to work well for our school (we have the model in grades 3-5), which is a Title 1, high poverty school in an urban area.

    At any rate, I just wanted to leave a comment letting you know I'm feeling sort of relieved at finding your blog! I've been having a year, and one of the things I feel the most lacking in isn't classroom management--I got that. But class cohesiveness. Particularly if I only see 1/2 of two classes for one hour a day--how do I create that family feeling of belonging in a one hour/day five times a week group? Time truly is a four letter word.

    So I'll be back--looking forward to reading more and sharing ideas! -Amy

  2. So glad you responded Amy... relationships are so huge with our students! I have many things planned this week - including how to start the day on the right track with morning meetings, energizers to keep your students engaged during the day and so much more! Spread the word!

  3. I'm visiting you through the linky party. Oh, I agree with you on that! It's so important to get to know all of your kiddos! I work really hard each year to build a classroom community that embraces diversity, encourages kids to answer without fear of being laughed at, feel they are important! Stop by when you get a chance.

    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox

  4. Thank you for this post! This May I finished my time student-teaching high school Juniors in a very rough school. I believe my gift for teaching starts with my ability to form relationships and "reach" those hard-to-reach students. I quite easily formed bonds with the students my mentor-teacher struggled to reach all year.

    I'm moving from Texas to Hawaii in a couple of weeks and have already obtained my certification there, so I will be eligible to begin teaching right away! I am so nervous about being a first-year teacher in a totally new place, and the only thing that sustains my confidence (for now...eek!) is the memory of my time student-teaching and how the relationships with the students made all the difference.

    I honestly haven't been able to sleep very well at night ALL summer! I stay up staring at the ceiling, mentally planning my first week of school (I know it's the most vital week).

    It is hard to find teachers who are able to say they love their job. So thank you for being one of them. We newbies are told not to be too idealistic nor have unrealistic expectations. I have a deep hunch that I am going to love my career...and I can't wait!