Over the next few days, I will reveal problems which live in our educational system. Those situations represent all four points of view found in “RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD!”: students, parents, teachers and administrators.
Problem #7: When children feel disconnected from their teachers, peers and school experience, open hostility will dominate the learning environment.
Many times my administrators accused me of getting too close to my students. Yet in the 21st century best teaching practices, especially Emotional Intelligence, educators are encouraged to “be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationship judiciously and empathetically. It is the key to both personal and professional success.” A theatre instructor once used this analogy to acting: is there a cement brick wall, a heavy dark curtain, a thin piece of glass or nothing between you and the audience. The latter is the wise choice of an actor. Shouldn’t it also be the choice of a wise educator? If you are not already, become emotionally available to your students. Blurring or destroying the precious line between student and teacher may cost you a reprimand. If your administrator cannot own the importance of emotionally connecting to your students, start looking for a new job! You may be the one person who affects positive change in that one child. Do not miss that opportunity.
In the previous blog, I alluded to God and religious teachings. If you walk with God, demonstrate your beliefs with your actions. Do not be afraid to stand up for any child who is bullied. He or she must know there is an adult somewhere in the building who will not question their real sense of fear. Embrace those students who walk to the beat of a different drum and celebrate their differences. Understand today’s students cannot be viewed through the eyes of someone unwilling to see diversity as an asset. Honor those students who struggle in their day to day dealings with their peers. Honor them with a safe place to learn and a viable adult advocate.
Could a three hour, small group retreat before school started solve the disconnected student syndrome? How would students sharing their story, before the school year begins, increase ownership to their school? Are students able to walk in others’ shoes? Can a moral compass and holding the sanctity of life be taught without invoking a religion? Yes, but only with a planned approach implemented before school begins. Enjoy a summer read which addresses these situations and provides solutions. Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child! is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.