With that said, while I don't have years of experience, my thoughts on education are still valid.
This topic which I am writing about has been on my mind a few times here and there. Right now it is at the forefront of my mind.
I think teaching is a wonderful responsibility and sometimes extremely overwhelming. There are so many limitations on teaching these days. I won't bother to list them as that will detract me from the purpose of writing today.
While there are numerous stressors and difficulties in teaching, I wonder what would happen if we dug a little bit deeper.
Many schools have good solid rules like: be safe, responsible and respectful. There are also many schools and districts, which adhere to the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports) model. This is a good system that consists of 3 tiers of behavior management (to learn more go to this site PBIS.org). I think these systems and rules are important for encouraging positive behavior and preventing negative ones.
However, my concern is that kids don't really "get it." I am not pointing out blame, as I know for a fact that there are hundreds and thousands of incredible teachers pouring their hearts out every day. What I am saying is that, I am worried that some kids don't see the real meaning in following rules.
As I said, we need to dig deeper. We need to show students the roots of these rules and their purpose. We need to talk about the BIG words because those are why the rules were created in the first place. Right?
What big words am I talking about?
Yes, these are what we need to be talking about. There are others of course. Not only do we need to start the conversation with students, but we need to keep it going. This means we enforce the meanings of these words constantly and consistently.
I don't think that this is an unrealistic idea. I think it is a big idea, after all, these words are rather "meaty."
Speaking of which, an image on Pinterest via Flickr has it right about integrity, "...is doing the right thing even when nobody is watching." Oh yes, that word has layers.
A conversation with these big words can start any day at a any time. We do owe it to each other. Really. The reason for digging deeper is so that these children can look at each other in the eye and see human beings.
We owe it to the homeless man on the street, the lonely lady walking by herself on a blustery day, the child who is always left out, the child who is shy but needs a friend, the boy who only has one pair of sneakers... We owe it to ourselves because we are all unique individuals who have hopes and dreams. We owe it to our neighbor who has skills that we may not possess. We owe it to each other because each person has value and until we go beyond just following rules, we will continue to be invisible to one another. That's what need to teach kids.
How do we do it?
These big words can be discussed in classroom meetings, journal time, during read alouds, through problem solving situations, and daily activities. Another great way is to get kids involved with the community outreach. Words are better when they're put into action. There are many other good ways to go about this big conversation!
We also need to remember one simple thing: Kids learn from the adults around them. They are watching us, we are leading them.
It is a big idea. It's high expectations too.
I strongly believe it can be done. We just need to get out the shovel and start digging.
Image was found on the blog- that is linked to the picture. Not sure where they got it from. I take no credit for this image.