My wife is an amazing woman. Beautiful, smart, has raised two strong daughters, can cook anything, and takes zero crap from me! Right now, she’s reading Creative Curriculum, a preschool curriculum that Head Start is using. She came across this gem as we were talking about the relationships that we build.
I needed to share it out via Twitter and Facebook because the more I read this statement, the more frustrated I’ve become.
If this is written in a preschool curriculum book, why aren’t we all following this? Why don’t our students have a that “nurturing” environment at all levels? This could be the one place they have access to this where they truly feel safe! Why aren’t they getting “stable relationships” from all their teachers? Some students push buttons, I know this to be the truth (oh do I know this!). But if the relationships they have with us, here at school, are the only stable ones they have, aren’t they worth the work? If research proves the above two items, plus a “linguistically and cognitively rich environments” lead to “healthy brain development and learning” what in the world is stopping us from providing this?
We had this awesome speaker, Paul Gassor (I really thought I wrote about him, but I couldn’t find a blog. That’s a whole different topic!), who came and spoke to us about “Building Culture and Relationships with Students”. Awesome speaker and lifted so many of us up from a really awful week. He spoke about how you need to build the relationships, first. The curriculum won’t be worth a darn if the student doesn’t feel like you care. We ALL, as educators, know this to be true! Mr. Gassor just reenforced a number of things our middle school team believes in!
My wife, my daughter, and I spend a lot of time talking about relationships in her high school. My daughter’s a very perceptive person (she just can’t always keep that perception to herself 🙂 ), and when my wife read the above mentioned page to me, just just shakes her head. She knows the lingo of education and has heard both my wife and I talk about relationship building and how important it is in teaching. She’s also very strong willed, and when she doesn’t see those relationships being built, she struggles in the class. She’s a student where the relationship is half the battle and if she doesn’t feel comfortable, she’ll let you know in less than positive ways. Yeah, she can be a tough one at times.
But if, in preschool, we know this to be true, that the relationships we build with students create a positive or negative attitude, why wouldn’t we be making those relationship top priority? Why aren’t we held to that standard of creating that relationship, creating a positive environment, a place where students want to come and learn?
Unfortunately, I don’t have those answers, and that frustrates me too. 🙂
January 31, 2017 at 11:38 am
Thankfully I work under a principal that does believe in the 3 R’s with relationship being the most important one. We are encouraged (rather required) to work on relationships will all students, but at the same time realizing that not all teachers will connect with all students. That is the beauty of having many of us. I student that I can’t connect with, someone else can and vice versa.
January 31, 2017 at 11:39 am
That’s always my hope, that there’s someone out there for each student. My fear, they won’t find that someone until it’s too late. Ying and yang I suppose! 🙂
January 31, 2017 at 12:28 pm
Yes, the big question is WHY isn’t this a priority in every class, every age? Who wants their kid in a class where relationships don’t matter?
January 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm
I agree entirely! 🙂
January 31, 2017 at 12:40 pm
In our district, under a former superintendent, the social curriculum was primary to the academic curriculum. He believed that to truly educate kids, we need to communicate with them. This is a two way street, and we were given the time to do it. With every new state test, I’ve watched this curriculum’s importance wane just a little bit more. The worst part is watching new teachers in our district’s jaws drop when I mention devoting time to “circle time” in my middle school classroom. You’re not alone.
January 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm
I’m a kindergarten teacher and I can’t agree with you more! Many of my kiddos only get those experiences here at school. They need the positive school relationship to get themselves through each day. We push and push this kids so much, I wish we would focus on what their little bodies and minds need most. Love and developmentally appropriate learning experiences.
February 1, 2017 at 8:40 am
I love that statement: “They need the positive school relationship to get themselves through each day.” And it can be any teacher, but they have to have at least one! What if they don’t? 😦
January 31, 2017 at 5:24 pm
This is my rich and fabulous world, too – teaching preschoolers. I totally agree with the words you noted from Creative Curriculum. I agree with you wholeheartedly – it’s all about relationship, relationship, relationship…that’s how we learn best.
February 1, 2017 at 8:39 am
I love the preschool/kindergarten perspective! I teach 8th grade, so there needs are SO much different, but when it come down to it, they need to feel safe and respected before they’ll produce for you! 🙂
January 31, 2017 at 6:24 pm
Why weren’t the creators of the Common Core held responsible for paying attention to this wisdom? There is nothing in the Common Core that recognizes that students’ emotions, stability, security and uniqueness. These are all things we as educators know require attention before real learning can take place. I taught ENL students for 22 years, and it was certainly true for them, no matter what their age. Thanks for reminding us how important this is. I love that your wife won’t “take any crap” from you and that you are willing to admit it!
February 1, 2017 at 8:38 am
Ha ha! My wife would love to see that! 🙂 And I agree, there’s so many places we do talk and write and communicate about those needs. It’s a pet peeve of mine for sure!
February 1, 2017 at 2:25 am
Back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs!
February 1, 2017 at 8:36 am