This morning was like any other morning, I came in, started getting things around for the day, and soon, students started entering to start their day as well. The first student came in and asked a question, to which I didn’t answer in a timely manner I guess, because next it was,”He’s not answering questions! He’s giving us the silent treatment!”
Well, me being me, I though “why not” and would not reply to any question or comment given to me. You’d have thought that I had a pet unicorn beside because my students were just flabbergasted that I wouldn’t talk. Soon, they started bringing in “outsiders”: other teachers, other students, support staff to see if any of them would get me to talk. So, me being me, I talked to everyone but fifth graders. Oh my goodness, now we are in a full flegded up roar: “What did we do??” “Why aren’t you talking??” “We are going to give YOU the silent treatment!!” It was comical!!
At 8:30, I calmly turned to one of the students and said “good morning”, much to their surprise. We then spent a couple of minutes talking about this experience along the lines of how did it make you feel? Why were you so worried? How did you when something different took place? This was a hugely interesting little experiment in how social these little gems are and how much talk time they need at the beginning of the day.
Now, as I reflect a little more, I worry. I know that moving into middle school, two of my best teacher friends are up there, moved two years from our end of the elementary. They give all their students, 6th through 8th grade, that time to talk and get the stuff out of their system they need to start their day off right. However, what about those teachers who don’t? Who aren’t there waiting smiling when the kids come in or who don’t give them that chance just to “talk it out” in the mornings? What happens to those kids?
Being an elementary teacher and a middle school coach, I value that start of the day talk time so much. It’s amazing the things students need to get off their chest, and how much better they are once it happens. Somedays are better then others with my students, but they always are given this time because it makes such a difference in their day! After this little 15 minute experiment, I see much more clearly that value!
What about you? Is this time valuable? Do you see teachers who don’t value it?