Favorite 5 and FISH


Another school year is on the doorstep, ushered in by the winds of Hurricane Irene.  Perhaps this is the “wind of change” I hear so much about. As I think about all the expectations placed on teachers and students, I have to keep in mind that the STUDENT is the center of all we do.  A couple of extraordinary middle level educators have helped me keep that in mind.

First – Jerry Lynch.  At the Middle Level Institute at the University of Maine a number of years ago, Jerry told a story about starting the school year.  He was principal of a middle school, and he challenged his staff to choose a “Favorite 5”.  Think of 5 students who either are a challenge to teach, seem lost, make you crazy, . . . .  and reach out to each one every day.  Say hello, make a positive observation, shake their hand, give a friendly smile; in other words, start building that positive relationship.  At the end of the year, he was amazed at the stories of  positive changes in student and staff relationships.  I do it every year and every year have at least one story of a great relationship made.

Second – Judy Enright.  Again, at the Middle Level Institute, Judy introduced the FISH Philosophy.  Every year, the staff and students at my school watch this video about 4 simple “rules” for a positive workplace, classroom, school: 1. Play, 2. Make Their Day, 3. Be There, and 4. Choose Your Attitude.  I must have watched this video 50 times (no exaggeration), and I learn something new or am reminded of something really important EVERY TIME.  It really is simple, and it really does work.  Learn more at http://www.charthouse.com/content.aspx?nodeid=16741

Have a GREAT year – and remember: It’s All About the Relationship!


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