As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.
This week we are holding progress monitoring meetings or CMIT meetings as they are called in my district to review student progress after middle of the year assessments are complete. As teachers usher in and out of our meeting room we discuss student growth and success and I am reminded of the challenges many of our students face on a daily basis. While conversations revolve around how students are performing in each of the academic areas more often than not, a story emerges about something that is happening outside of school. The stories are not all doom and gloom, in fact some of the stories are rather inspiring. My heart is big enough to love each of our over 430 student equally, but when I hear some of these stories, my heart wants to break. Our teachers are left asking, "What can we do?" I am left asking, "What can we do?" The last thing our students need is my heart breaking. They do not need anyone to feel sorry for them. They need us to understand their stories. They needs us to understand their challenges. They need us to help them develop the tenacity, desire and will to overcome their challenges so their stories become their testimonies to inspire others.
"What can we do?"
In between meetings I sent a colleague a message about how each of the stories I hear serves as a reminder of the emotional load some of our students carry, paired with the expectations we place on them to learn. My colleague responded, "Just remember, you are doing right by meeting those other needs first. I always say, just love them. Students will do anything when they know they are loved."
As I sit in meetings and want so desperately for our students to find their success in school, continually asking, "What can we do?" I need to remember the answer I know already exists in our hearts. We need to love them. It is what our students need long before they need us to teach them to read and write.
As educators, we all remember our education physiology class and learning about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. What if our conversations in these meetings shifted and instead of first talking about academics, we reviewed the following questions:
Are the students' physiological needs being met?
Does the student feel safe in his/her learning environment?
Does the student feel loved?
What if we asked students those questions?
Progress monitoring meetings continue tomorrow and as an employee of a public school system, I know I are charged with the awesome responsibility of teaching students and I am held accountable for their learning. I am also accountable for showing them unconditional love. We as a campus are accountable for showing students unconditional love regardless of how they act, regardless of how they learn and regardless of the emotional load they possess. I know we are and will do our very best to ensure our students reach their level of success at the end of the school year, but the next time I ask, or a teacher asks, 'What can I do?" I know my response.
We can show them love.
What was your moment today?