If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.
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.
Relationships are at the center of everything I hold dear as a husband, father, friend and principal. Embracing the relationships I have with our staff and students are the absolute favorite part of my day. Cultivating these relationships just does not happen. It takes being intentional. In order for relationships to be forged, there must be a desire to want it to happen. It takes time.
Are you familiar with the 2x10 strategy? If not, read more about it here. The article states, "The 2x10 strategy is simple: spend 2 minutes a day for 10 days in a row talking with an at-risk student about anything she or he wants to talk about. Simple enough right? I would challenge you do this with with any student, not just at-risk students. Furthermore, I would challenge you to spend the same amount of time in getting to know teachers or colleagues. We all want to be heard and we all have a story to share.
I have been using this strategy with a few young men recently at school. We spend portions of the lunch/recess time together. I do not spend it all with them, but I sit down and spend a few minutes to see how they are doing, how their day as been and give them the opportunity share whatever is on their minds. I just listen. Today, as I was listening I was reminded of the image seen to your right. My conversation with one specific young man always begins with a review of how his morning as gone. Today, I noticed a comment on his behavior chart that mentioned his homework had not been completed. This is not a blog post to debate homework, although that debate is a worthy one. I will spend a moment reminding us all about the unique circumstances students possess.
It does not get lost on me that my childhood does not compare with the up-bringing many of my students have. I certainly did not grow up with a lot of money, but I did not go without. I had everything I needed. I keep that in mind, because the last thing I want to do is pass judgement, assume or pretend to understand circumstances that are not mine.
As this young man opened up today, he shared he didn't do his homework last night because he didn't use his time wisely, which I thought was a very honest answer. We went on to have a discussion about what he did do with his time. Yes, he admittedly watched a little bit more TV than he should of when he arrived home, but he was home alone. After watching a show or two, he let me know it was dinner time. I asked what he had. He went on to share that he and his mom had a deal that each Monday, he gets to cook dinner for her. While listening to him share and observing his body language, you could tell he was proud of being able to cook the hamburgers he had prepared the night before. I had been talking with him for weeks now and this was the first time I had learned about his interest in cooking. He likes to cook eggs, bacon, hamburgers, toast (which was easy), spaghetti, macaroni and sandwiches. This is way more than I was cooking at his age and to be honest, I am not sure I cook that much in a week as an adult. (Applause for my amazing wife goes here...) The young man went on to say after dinner they had a little bit of time for homework, which was cut short, because bed time came promptly at 8PM.
Why do I share this exchange? I believe we assign homework to students and just expect that it is going to happen. Each of our students has a unique set of circumstances that at the end of the day, they have very little control over. Yes, teaching them responsibility is important and yes, homework has its place. (Remember, not debating this right now) I am just asking all of us to get to know our students well enough that we understand the unique set of circumstances they possess.
The 2x10 strategy may be what you need in order to find just a moment each day to learn more about your students and their circumstances.
What was your moment today?
Labels: #oneword, 2016, 2x10, homework, Moment, Relationships