Bright Future Campaign - Closing the Attitude Gap - Week 22
This week we will wrap up Chapter 2 which you recall is Attitude
Toward Students, Do I Believe in Them? Chapter 2 has been a heavy chapter with
a lot of reflection and having to look deep within to determine if we have our
belief system where it absolutely needs to be in order to reach all of our
students. As we close Chapter 2 we will focus on goal setting (which is timely
as our students in grades 3rd-5th listened to two great speakers this past week
on our Future's Day), planning, being a role model, being the primary
determinant of student success or failure, and daily self reflection.
As you recall, the reflective questions for chapter 2 are:
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
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 professional?
Do I see myself as the number-one determinant of their success
Do I conduct daily self-reflections and self-assessments of my
practice of teaching them?
Setting Short and Long Term Goals for Students
are you fulfilling the goals you have set to help your students attain theirs?
Depending on what goals you have set for the students in your classroom,
consider adding the following:
complete homework assignments
quizzes and tests with an A or B grade
the criteria for Student of the Week/Month
to school or class on time
of the goals you have set for your students, the key is to let your students
know that you have set them. Simply telling them the goal is not enough. Post
these goals on the wall or a bulletin board. Doing so increases the likelihood
that students will be encouraged to help meet the goals. Posting the goals also
clearly demonstrates to your students that you are serious about them, because
it shows them you measure your success by their performance. The examples above
could be considered short term goals, but long term goals need to be in place
the number of student who will make the honor roll in all four grading periods
of students who will maintain perfect attendance for the
entire school year
Planning Each Day Thoroughly for Students' Success
is essential, unavoidable and non-negotiable. Teachers must have a plan for all
of the students if you want to maximize their potential in the classroom. Our
special education teachers can relate to this as each of their students has a
individualized education plan for each of their students, an IEP. If you stop
and think, it makes sense, since each of the students who qualifies for special
education has been identified as learning information differently for what ever
reason. Their success increases exponentially with a individualized plan in
place. For that specific reason, Principal Kafele believes teacher in all
classes should keep each of their students in mind as they are planning. In
some cases it may mean planning for each student differently. He specifically
states, "I am well aware that this requires additional time,
time-consuming work, but I can see no other way to effectively close the
attitude gap." Teachers who have accepted this approach, can vouch for the
success they have seen in their students.
Being a Role Model for Students and Conducting Yourself
are in school, on a typical school day for upwards of seven hours. Multiply
that times the 180 school days and teachers spend over 1200 hours a year with
students. Spending that much time with children makes teachers a role model for
students whether you accept it or not.
Kafele tells teachers, "The power is in your hands - the power to effect
enormous change in the lives of students, the power to create entire
classrooms of high performers." There are so many variables that can have
an effect on studetns and some we take for granted. One of those variables is
the way we conduct ourselves. Students are watching us, they admire us,
and inevitably they are going to pick up some of our traits. We must
conduct ourselves as professionals at all time.s
you see yourself as a role model for students?
you see yourself as having qualities they may want to emulate?
you realize your students are watching you and listening to
must be mindful of how we speak, what we say, and how we dress. Many students
are looking for role models. Are we living up to their expectations?
are professionals and our intent must be to bring our students closer
to where we are, not to go where they are in the name of forging a
Kafele shares being in schools during his consultations where teachers, leaders
and students do not greet one another in the morning,
they just walk past one another without acknowledging each other's
presence. Is this the culture and climate you wish to work
in? We are role models and it is incumbent of us to take
the initiative and greet our students - and to expect they
will greet us back.
a side note, I know this is something we can continue to build upon, especially
the part of expecting students greet us back)
Being the Primary Determinant of Your Students' Success of Failure
workshops across the US, Principal Kafele is constantly asked, "You expect
me to believe that, with all of the variables in my students' lives, I'm
the single one that will determine whether or not my kids succeed?" His
answer is an emphatic, unequivocal, "YES."
one workshop. Principal Kafele recalls a teacher who had a hard time connecting
with the statement above. He argued his students had to many negative
influences in the community outside of his school and it was too much to
overcome. This is exactly why, attitudes need to change towards students.
If teachers succumbed to this believe, that we are helpless in the
face of negative outside influences, then students do not stand a chance - they
are already at a deficit because of the attitude toward
of the school, school district, community if the mentality is
negative, how can we realistically expect the students to achieve?
The mindset must be that despite the social challenges,
our students are going to soar like eagles (in our case, shine like
stars) because we are their teachers.
in at-risk urban or rural children need us! We need to be confident about our
ability to effectively and properly educate students. We need to see social
challenges not as excuses, but as motivation to help students scale unimagined
heights. We must make students understand they and
their friends have a role to play in overcoming the adversity and
working hard in school is where it starts. Students deserve this opportunity
and the best way of ensuring their success is be declaring it WILL happen
because YOU are their teacher.
is your attitude toward your students?
do you feel about them and their chances for success in life?
is your attitude about your ability to inspire them to strive for
answers to these questions will determine outcomes for
your students enter your classroom what do they see? Do they see your name
associated with their success? That is YOUR classroom. YOU are the one who
determines outcomes in that classroom. YOU are the one who creates scholars in
that classroom - who creates hope, who lets dreams flourish, who keeps negative
influences from entering the room.
your students constantly that where they are now does
not necessarily determine where they will wind up later!
Daily Self-Reflection and Self-Assessments
all face an enormous pressure and the demands to perform at optimal levels are
not going away. How do you ensure you are consistently displaying the right
attitude toward your students? It was mentioned at the beginning of
Chapter 2, how important it is to pause and reflect upon your performance in
front of a mirror on a daily basis. Not a single day should go by
that you do not do this. At the end of each day, you must run a mental DVD of your
of your state of mind when you arrived at the school in the morning.
of the lessons you presented.
of the interactions you had with students.
of how you challenged them and engaged them.
any incidents that may have occurred and how you handled
your reflection time, you should also assess your performance:
yourself, and be brutally honest.
What adjustments may you need to make?
going through your self-assessment you may want to jot down some goals related
to what you would like to improve upon for the next day, preferably in a
journal reserved for this purpose. Write down your goals and your strategies
for meeting them. At the beginning of the next day ask yourself these questions
in your mirror:
are you about?
is your most recent evidence?
Kafele shares his responses to the questions above:
Principal Kafele of Newark Tech. I am not ordinary at what I do; I am
extraordinary at what I do." If you are gong to do your part to produce
extraordinary results, you have to feel extraordinary as an educator. How can
you consider it realistic that you will achieve extraordinary results if
you don't even know what "extraordinary" feels like?
about the business of ensuring that every student in the building is
striving to achieve excellence." In other words, his purpose what his
students' success. You, too, must hear your reflection confirm that you are all
about your students - all of them - and you will therefore do all that is
necessary to ensure their academic success.
question is the most difficult. What have you done in the last 24 hours to
confirm you are who you say you are? Determine what strategies, activities, and
interactions you have engaged in to move your students closer to
answering the 3 questions you are ready to start your day. If you have no good
answer, you know you have work to do - each and every day, you must
be able to acknowledge something you did that day to
move your students forward from where they were the day before.
yourself this week! Set your goals, write them down, create some action steps
and then listen do your reflection and determine who you are.