S'More From The AP

Week Ending December 12, 2014

Building Relationships - With Mrs. Sutton

“Kids don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.”

Most teachers have heard that saying, but probably don’t have time to actually give it much thought because there are too many grades to put in the computer, papers to grade, parent emails and calls that require responses, lesson plans to do, meetings to attend, etc., etc.! However, if we remember that one quote throughout the day, it might make each school day easier for our students and us.

Research shows that the most important factor in a child feeling hopeful about a successful life is having at least one caring adult in his or her life. If that child is experiencing problems at home, that one person could be you---the administrator, teacher, aide---anyone who comes in contact with a student at school on a daily basis. Well-adjusted children have to feel capable, cared for and connected. If a child does not feel this way, misbehavior occurs.

Alfred Adler, psychotherapist, believed that the ultimate goal of a child’s behavior is to fulfill the need to belong. Let’s face it---we all want to feel significant! When boys think you don’t care about them they feel “disrespected”; girls feel unloved. Higher level needs (like excelling academically) will not be achieved unless the lower needs are met.

This does not mean you should be a friend to your students. Educator and author Harry Wong says that students “have enough on their hands with their own friends!” In his book The First Days of School, Wong suggests that you start every day by greeting each of your students at the door. You are acknowledging their presence from the moment you see them. You are letting them know you appreciate them just because they showed up.

If you can’t always be the greeter, choose a student to do it. Wow! In the first few minutes of the day you have already made the child feel cared for and connected. Now you have the rest of the day to work on the other “C”—capable!

The Principal Ponders

I am a “people person.” Maybe it’s because I talk a lot or maybe it’s because I take after my dad who has never met a stranger. Who knows! But I do know that you can build relationships in places you never thought possible – strangers in an airport, the greeter at Home Depot (remind me to tell you about that one!), a Twitter follower, a person in a waiting room – the opportunities are everywhere. As teachers, 22 (or more) opportunities present themselves to us every day we walk into the classroom. But if we don’t open the door when opportunity knocks, we are doing our students a huge disservice.

“You know, kids don’t learn from people they don't like." This quote by the late Rita Pierson exemplifies the power of the student/teacher relationship. Does this mean we have to be our students’ friend? Their buddy? Absolutely not! But we do need to be the one that cares, by setting high expectations and offering support when needed.
“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” James Comer, Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University, says students have to feel respected and cared about in order to perform their best in the classroom. Some very quick and simple ways to connect and to start building a respectful relationship with your students include:

Call students by name
Answer student questions
Speak to students respectfully
Notice students and say “hello”
Help students when they need it

Most of these things we do naturally; however, in the hustle and bustle of everything else that is required of us, we also tend to get complacent and forget just how important the student/teacher relationship really is. And we all know there will be those where making that connection will be difficult, for whatever the reason. If you find yourself facing that, remember this:

You won't like them all, and the tough ones show up for a reason.
It's the connection. It's the relationships.
And while you won’t like them all, the key is, they can never, ever know it.
-Rita Pierson

Thank you for what you do everyday – TEACH ON!

Worth Watching

ABCNews - What Makes Great Teachers - 02-26-2010.ASF
Dr. Rosemary Wong: The Impact of a Positive Greeting
Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Worth Reading

Tweet of the Week

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Tech Corner

Did you know there is now an add on in Google that allows students (or you!) to create custom maps (Such as Places I Have Visited) from their Google Drive accounts? Pretty Awesome! Below is a video series that will walk you through the process!
How to Create Custom Maps on My Maps - Part 1
How to Create Custom Maps on My Maps - Part 2
How to Create Custom Maps on My Maps - Part 3

Thanks to Mrs. Van Meter for sharing this OSE Holiday Door Video!! We love it!