Closing the Attitude Gap - Week 21
This week, we will finish up chapter 2, "Attitude Toward
Students" Do I Believe in Them? As I was sitting in a classroom this week
observing student play a math game noticed she was not marking her game board
as the teacher read questions. The game board she created had the correct
answers, so after watching for a few minutes I asked her what her answer would
be. She thought for a moment and provided the correct answer and I encouraged
her to mark it on her board. We talked through the next several questions and
she had each of them correct and then marked her game board. I asked why she
wasn't marking her answers before and she simply said, I second guess myself
and don't think I'm right. This particular student has been at Sigler since KN
and I know we have poured our hearts into her, but the world outside of Sigler
has taught her to doubt herself and the work we have done has not overcome the
"outside world". This conversation reminded me of this book and the
importance of our students knowing we believe in them. Be sure to let your
students know that this week.
you recall, the reflective questions for chapter 2 are:
Do I believe in them?
Do I have a passion for teaching them?
Do I have a purpose for teaching them?
Do I treat teaching them as a mission?
Do I have a vision for what I expect of them?
Do I set incremental and long-range goals for them to achieve?
Do I plan each day thoroughly toward their success?
Do I see myself as a role model for them and always conduct myself as a
Do I see myself as the number-one determinant of their success or
Do I conduct daily self-reflections and self-assessments of my practice of
Treating Teaching as a
Principal Kafele suggests treating teaching as one's mission and would take
a mission-oriented teacher over a career-oriented teacher any day. The teacher
with a mission orientation is going to get the job done; nothing is going to
stop her from achieving the goal of student success. Although teaching is her
career, she believes there's more to it. He believes his approach to teaching
tells your students, "Your success in my room is my mission. Your future
is my mission. Your life is my mission. And my mission will be
accomplished." A teacher who is mission driven is bound to have higher
expectations for her students than a career-oriented teacher.
Which one are you?
Principal Kafele continues with teachers needing to understand their role.
Teachers are just not a math or science teacher. Rather, the mindset must be,
"I teach children who are faced with enormous challenges that adversely
affect their attitudes toward school, but I will make sure that nothing
inhibits my students from experiencing success in my classroom.
A school's mission should reflect its teachers' mission orientation. In his
trainings he asks teachers to stand and recite their school's mission and in
most cases they do not know it.
Do you know ours?
He also asks if teachers have written a mission statement for their
classroom, usually they have not.
He feels both are critically important.
Imagine a teacher whose mission is to close the attitude gap in her
classroom. She has it written and posted and students recite this mission
everyday and expects them to learn it by heart. This is a recipe for serious
learning. We will learn more about mission statements later in this book.
Developing a Vision of What to Expect from Students
At the beginning of each year, teachers must ask themselves, "What will
my students have achieved by the end of each marking period? What effect will
my instruction and interactions have on them over he course of the entire year?
How successful will my students be in the long term as a result of having me as
their teacher?" The answer to these questions supply the vision of what
you expect for your students. Having a sense of your vision allows you to see
the students' success before you utter the first word of the first lesson or
they complete their first assignment.
Vision is seeing, anticipating, and expecting an intended outcome. Coming to
work each day with a day-to-day mindset is not good enough. You must visualize
your students achieving at the highest levels because you are their teacher.
During his travels he encounters many teachers who have no vision but have lots
of excuses. He reminds them that excuses for their students' failure are
unacceptable. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.
Too many children do not have the ability to see their future, to have a
vision to dream big. They see their day to day lives and don't realize they can
have more. That is where we come in. Dare your students to see themselves 10,
20, 30 years from now, achieving their dreams. This is one thing I wish for our
kids during our Future's Day guest speakers.
Folks, chapter 2 is heavy. I shared that last week as well. Before moving
forward and finishing the chapter, I want you to chew in this.
is the mission of Sigler Elementary?
is the mission in your classroom?
our students know either one?
is the vision we have at Sigler for our students?
is the vision you have in your classroom?
our students know either one?
those questions may not be easy, but we must be able to, to set the table for
our students success.
week we will conclude chapter 2, discussing; goal setting, planning, being a
role model, being the primary determinant of student success or failure and