Who wrote, "No dark sarcasm in the classroom..."
This morning, the field was full of the round bales. I went back to get some additional photographs and they were all gone the next day! Timing is everything.
At school there is nothing like the first day of school. New notebooks, new classes, new procedures and the hope* for success. With all these important variables to cover the first few days of school, what is most important? Is there a single component? Curriculum, rules, expectations, procedures, content, establishing norms? How about getting to know each other?
In the middle school, where social connections are so important, why would it be so valuable to address the relationship side of academics?
Let's consider the middle school student, so different from day to day, hour by hour and even within an hour. We see them up and down as they learn to manage their thoughts, emotions and feelings. We also see them with best friends and sworn enemies yet even those change and evolve over time. It seems like the connections students form are dynamic and ever changing. This fluid ebb and flow of relational energy is often the basis for other issues, such as bullying, abuse and even assaults. Students ganging up on others, picking on some and using relationships as weapons of power.
Hint, suggestion, idea:
What if we spent time building these connections deliberately? What if we established connections in our classrooms that would tear down those walls and allow students to get to know more about each other? What if in our job as teachers, we built an environment where students were nice to each other, used manners, proper language and no sarcasm? That would be our role as leader! Often times, students come to us lacking many social graces. Just as we may not always know what fork to use, they may not know what tone or expression to use! Therefore part of our responsibility may be to teach those social graces or manners.
Definition: Manners - Making others comfortable!
As teachers, it is our job and privilege to help prepare the future by helping students establish a set of ground rules for professionalism. We must teach them content, but often we must prepare the setting for the content. We must help them learn to learn. If we help them get to know each other, we help them combat bullying. Hal Urban even suggests we invest time during our school year to help them get to know each other. He speaks of his assignment that requires every student to get 5 facts from every other student in his class! Wonderful. What a great way to break down walls, build connecdtions and reduce the motivation behind bullying.
To address bullying:
establish connections, front load relationships and help students get to know each other, cooperate and find the commonalilty at the very beginning. Will this eliminate all bullying? Probably not but it will create a safe environment where students feel valued, worthwhile and esteemed by both the teacher and classmates.
*Good discipline does not diminish hope.
Who wrote, "No dark sarcasm in the classroom... teacher, leave those kids alone."