Do you want to have near perfect attendance and not worry about student absenteeism? Do you want students totally engaged in learning and reduced behavior problems?
Concentrate your effort on cultivating relationships and creating connections. I'm sure you've heard this before. Because anyone who is in the education field knows relationships are king. For good reason. They trump everything. In the words of Rita Pierson, "Kids don't learn from people they don't like."
Life is about relationships. We're wired for connection and relationships.
How To Foster Connections and Student Relationships
I had a wonderful conversation with Mark Taylor from Education on Fire Podcast. We talk about connections, student relationships, and creating a culture where kids want to come back. Hopefully you'll glean some new ideas for creating connections that cultivate a culture where students want to be in your class and school. (Access it by clicking image below.)
I just love how we can communicate and connect with educators from around the world. The picture below is me in a Skype conversation with Mark in the United Kingdom while I'm on the east coast of the United States of America. How cool is that?
Keep reading to find out what I wish I'd done better.
All great educators reflect on their practice.
A reflective practice leads to self assessment and higher student achievement. It's important to intentionally think about what we do after we do it so we can keep what went well and throw out what didn't. And, of course, learn from the experience.
The night after I did the podcast with Mark, I tossed and turned in bed rehearsing all the things I wish I'd said. (Like all podcasts, the conversation was natural. Therefore, I didn't know all the questions he was going to ask me. If I had, I'd written down responses. Yep. I'm that person who likes to plan and prepare and then prepare and plan some more. I want to deliver the best I possibly can. Then I panic about what I actually said hoping it will convey well. ) Can you relate?
Wanting to improve is a great quality. Fussing about what I can't change isn't.
So here's some things I wish I'd said:
Mark: What would you tell your younger self? Me: Leave white space in your calendar. Don't over schedule yourself and run yourself ragged. Don't be consumed by what others thing of you. Remember you are on a journey and great things take time, skill, and practice. Remember progress over perfection. Give yourself grace and space to make mistakes. Learn from the mistake and let it go. Quit ruminating over the mistake. You can't change it, but you can learn from it. Remember to share gifts and talents. Work as a team to complete each other instead of compete with each other. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison kills creativity and calling. Be kind to yourself.
Mark: Who inspires you? Me: There are many. I'm always on the look out for uplifting books and podcasts. Currently, I'm inspired from my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter and in my school district. I love learning from like-minded educators. The following are just a few: Danny Steele, Todd Whiteaker, and Manny Scott. ( I could fill up an entire page with inspiring great educators.) Dr. Temple Grandin, an international autism speaker, author, and advocate, totally inspires me.
Mark: What are some books that made an impression? Me: Wild Card by Wade and Hope King. Their book inspired me to do room transformations. Doing room transformations are so much fun. They rekindled my love for teaching and students were totally engaged. I also enjoyed Relentless by Hamish Brewer and Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice By Nathan Maynard and Brad Weinstein.
Make no mistake, the things I share in the conversation are good and they work. But if I were to do it again, I'd add the answers above. Be sure to listen to see how you are already connecting and building relationships and listen to hear which ones you can add to your practice. (Listen here)
Creating connections and building relationships with your students will ensure they like you and keep them coming back to your class and school over and over again.
Isn't that what we all want?
You make a difference!
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