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!