Monday, February 23, 2015

Positive Relationship Building Is the Key!


I normally walked home from elementary school, but on a warm, breezy afternoon a note was sent to my teacher. 

It said, "Your father will pick you up in front of the school." 

This was different. My father traveled for business. He spent many days, weeks in Illinois, but we lived in Florida. He was keeping several business ventures going there even after we moved to South Daytona Beach back when I was six. 

The year was 1971, I was 8 years old...this was a day for some reason I have trouble letting go. 

I was excited to see my father. It had been awhile...and cool!... He was going to pick me up! This meant that we were probably also going to get an ICEE or Slurpee...yep! 





We stopped by the nearest 7-11 and picked up a Slurpee and a couple of comic books! Spider-Man...my favorite. 




The conversation was typical...How was school...ok...what did you do...nothing...or something...or hey I had fun at recess...not really sure...nothing too memorable here until I realized that we were driving away from Daytona toward Ormond Beach...






Not sure why...I asked...

Dad said that he wanted to introduce me to someone...and needed to explain something to me...

That afternoon I learned that my parents were getting a divorce...

Over the years, I attended three elementary schools, two junior highs and two high schools...

It is the reason why I have almost no one in my life who knew me prior to college. (Recently, reconnected with a friend from junior high...thanks to social media).

Now, this is not to lament my past...



The point is, I seemed to be able to focus on school...I have taught kids who couldn't survive the divorce and it has caused them extreme issues of coping with life not just with school....

This is only one example of what can happen to a child while he or she is in school. Somethings are way more destructive, like death or illnesses or addictions or loss of income or generational poverty. What ever the situation it can take precedence...

There are many issues that children face while they are school age. 

Kids are expected to care about why they should want to find x, the significance of Paul Revere's ride, Falukner's, The Bear and knowing that Newton's Laws are worth reciting.

What helps to overcome the concerns of home is the development of positive relationships in school. Sometimes it is only that one personality...that one teacher, administrator, school staff member, or maybe, in my case, a school bus driver who takes time to say...everything ok?

My challenge to you is...with all of the adult issues we have don't forget about the kids. It is easy to get sidetracked. It is easy to forget why we are here...

Your smile... the time you take to talk with the kids...call them by name... tell a bad joke, connect through the content or extracurricular activities...become goofy characters...show them the cool side of learning...point them in the direction of a wonderful future ...Inspire...Encourage... Push...Challenge....Laugh...

Positive relationship building will see kids through the negative and help them care about their future and the purpose of education. This is the part of our world that is so unmeasurable...and can't really be taught...the adult has to want to interact and work to see the lightbulb go off as the child says...Hey, I get this! 

It is the desire to extract a need or want to know more. There is a saying...not sure who originally said it but..."The kids buy into the teacher long before they buy into the subject or content."

So tell me...if you are struggling...what have you done to reach and connect? 

Positive Relationship building is the key...

(Need some ideas? Check out my podcast interview with elementary principal Hugh Kight. or how about thoughts from first year teacher Mrs. Knight. )

Here are some other blog articles that make suggestions about connecting with the kids...

4 Ways to Start the Year Right 

and

Getting to Know and Use the Names of the Kids

Smile and say hi! You never know what the impact may be....