Building Relationships and Celebrating Holidays - 12/19/18

This is my favorite time of year. It’s the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when things just seem to be going well. It’s the time when you’ve gathered for Thanksgiving with family and friends and you have started to think about gifts you will give to loved ones. It’s a time that really focuses more than any other time on relationships – relationships with families and those you care about. It’s an exceptional period of time and I think many of you agree with me that the joy of giving is really better than the joy of receiving.

Recently, I was at an elementary school where I entered the office and I saw two boys sitting there with faces that showed something wasn’t going right. They were angry. I asked my typical question, “Are you in trouble?” and one said yes, while the other just looked at me and then looked away. I asked what happened. “He threw this and hit me, and I got mad and I hit him back,” one student responded. “Why did you do that?” “Because I don’t like him.”

So I talked to the boys and did the thing adults did when I was growing up. “Stand up and shake hands. Look him in the eye and tell him you’re sorry.” They did and I told them I would be back to see how they were doing. Part of the conversation I had with them was that one boy was fairly new to the school, trying to figure how to fit in. The other boy, I think, had already established his territory and reputation, and conflict developed.

I returned later to see the students. I think they were surprised I followed up, but they were waiting for me. When I asked them how things were going, I learned they were now friends. They had worked out their differences and things were going well. They had created a new relationship.

I am constantly amazed that the opportunity to create new relationships is always there for us. A relationship between a teacher and a student is one of the most powerful. In many cases it’s the reason why you and I decided to work in public education – we wanted to make a difference. But, the most difficult relationship to have is the one with a student who just doesn’t seem to be motivated or want a relationship with a caring adult. The student who uses profanity all the time, the student who seems to be angry all the time, the student who flips desks over, who cries, who just seems uncontrollable. How do you focus on that one child when you have so many others that you have to deal with? I think if I had the answer to that I could probably solve a lot of problems. I don’t have the answer, but the following video is pretty good. It shows how a teacher was able to make a difference for a student who flipped desks and used profanity, who was angry and had issues at home that he brought to school. This is a teacher that remembered her “why” – why she chose to work in public education, and that made all the difference.

I hope you watch this video and enjoy it. Let it help you remember your reason for coming into this profession – one where you really wanted to build relationships. Merry Christmas!



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