Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The "Bad Kid" Label Sticks: Let's Remove It!


Sometimes, ok many times, she could be loud.
She rolled her eyes and twirled her neck. Often.
Her behavior was everyone else's fault, never hers.

But as the school year progressed, she changed.
She evolved.

Was she perfect? By, no means.
Did I require perfection from her?
No, why should I?

But I observed waaaaay less yelling, bullying, eye rolling and neck twirling.
Way less.

In my End-of-the-Year card! :)
I never yelled at her.
I  talked to her, not "at" her.
I listened to her.
I would allow her to lead.
Let her use her voice for good.
I resisted the power struggle.
Had to, because sometimes she would take me there.:)
And we grew together throughout the school year.

We grew to understand each other.
She knew I "didn't play", but I loved her anyway.
She knew to grab that Ipad, set the timer for 5 minutes, and go to the buddy classroom because I needed a timeout. :)
I learned there was a girl who needed to know she was more than a loud, bullying, eye-rolling, neck twirling child.
We built a relationship.

As the school year ended, I chose her to be the mayor at JA Biztown.
She was amazing!
Everything ran smoothly, she gave her speech to the "citizens."
I was so proud. What a leader!

But here's the thing with the "bad" kid.
Some educators don't want to let go of the label that has followed that student for years.

"I can't believe out of all the kids in your room, you chose her to be the mayor!"

Really?

I have this pesky habit of believing in the "bad" kid, just as I believe in all my kids.
I believe in giving kids a fresh start, and not believing the hype that follows them.
I believe educators should stop chasing down the previous teachers to get the "scoop" on a child and then continue to treat that child the same way they were the previous year.

Thre's no magic wand to change a child.
And sometimes, what is tried, fails.
This year, give the "bad" kid a chance to be viewed as good, or at least as worthy as everyone else.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

#WhatSummerBreak vs. #SummerBreak- A Teacher's Hashtag!


Why do I often feel the need to convince "others" (Meaning people who are not teachers, do not work with teachers, or are not married or partners of teachers.),that my summer vacation is well-deserved and/or not really a break at all?

Which, by the way, is exactly what I am doing in this blog post! LOL

This post stemmed from my participation as a delegate at the NEA RA (National Education Association Representative Assembly). The delegate who proposed this hashtag felt that the #whatsummerbreak was needed because so many "others" felt that teachers just get the summer off to do absolutely nothing. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) The delegate wanted teachers to post using the #whatsummerbreak to prove to "others" that teachers really don't enjoy their summer break the way other people think they do.

I guess this is a good time to mention that the RA lasted a week, I attended Friday through Wednesday. I worked 10 hour days, including Sunday and the 4th of July. (Ahem!)

Anytyway. The point is there are many, many, many, many, teachers working their way through their "summer break." Some of them are really working, as in, they have jobs. Jobs they MUST have in order to survive until school begins again, or this is their all-the-time 2nd job in order to survive.

Then we have the teachers who are doing, we'll call it "school stuff." Conferences, classes, summer school,(Wait, that's a job), and .or book studies.  Some of them are home, or in their classrooms, preparing for the new school year. Whether it's redesigning rooms, adjusting or creating new lesson plans, etc... I changed grades last year, so most of  my summer last year was spent getting ready for the new curriculum.

So yeah, for thousands of teachers around the country, the #whatsummerbreak does apply.(Watch this video)

But for those educators, or anyone else who deals with Other People's Children, do not, as I find myself doing much too often, feel the need to justify why you are off! EVER!

For 10 months you do what most people could not. You deal with parents, their children, other teachers, coaches, administrators. You write lesson plans, grade papers, attend PD, arrive early, leave late, give up countless hours of your time, coach, run after-school programs, and you never,ever, stop thinking about those kids, "your kids.".

And, before the "others" say it, yes, you willingly signed up for this job. But this job, this job can suck the life out of you.

SO, if for 2 months you want to sit on a beach, travel around the world, play with your kids, binge on a  Netflix, (substitute any streaming device here), show, talk to your significant other about something other than school, then do it! You deserve it, and don't you ever feel the need to justify it. #summerbreak

Please feel free to post to either hashtag #summerbreak or #whatsummerbreak and enjoy the rest of your summer!