I am who I say I am

So today was the first day of school.  Not off to the greatest start as I had hoped.  But once to school in my element (even though its a new school building, its still my element) I was better.  I expected the first day to be chaos so no lesson plans, etc.  I had things I wanted to do with my classes, but knew there was no way of knowing how long we would be in each class.  So today I decided will be a day for me to watch the natural interaction of these kids.

Kids are kids.  There personality is engraved into their little brains.  As I watched today I saw kids almost crawl into shells because they are shy, I saw 2 boys in one class sit on their feet – like a frog, one twist parts of his afro into perfect little twist all over his head.  I had 5 push past me to get into my classroom. One to move 4 times at lunch to sit by different people.  It was so interesting watching these kids’ small idiosyncrasies.

How many times do we tell students, “speak up,” “get your feet out of desks,” “leave your hair alone,” “stay in one seat,” etc, etc? By doing that we are taking what is comfortable and trying to change it.  Why on Earth are we trying to change kids?! Now making them be polite and courteous is understandable, you notice I did not say pushing past me was OK.  I have been guilty of this so many times as well. Why?

Nothing makes me more upset that another adult telling me they do not like the way I do things and I should change them. Especially if it is there opinion. I am a weird person, I do like to joke around, giggle, and say off the wall things.  That is me.  I work with some pretty strange people, one is making animal noises down the hall right now, (yeah I know some of you read this haha Tink costume) really if you sit back and look at the other 6th grade teachers I work with, we are a very odd group.  No way you would not like us! OK maybe and we annoy the mess out of each other in a brother/sister way. We are all different and have never told any one to be this way or that way.  So it shocks me when someone points out something about me they don’t like.  I am sure you would feel the same way.

So lets not do that to our kids.  Your classroom (my classroom) needs to be the safe environment where they can be themselves and as long as that does not hurt anyone’s learning, it is OK.  Kids need to be themselves to be comfortable enough to learn.  Do not try to change them! Teach them!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. wmchamberlain says:

    Funny how teachers that practice all day belittling students find it so easy to do the same to adults. I really love learning the differences in my students. I especially love the really “different” students.

  2. Joan Young says:

    Argh! Just typed a whole paragraph and it disappeared! Ok…so thank you for the reminder that it’s not up to us to change kids and how absurd that idea even is. Kids come to us in a myriad of constellations, personalities, and it’s up to us to find ways to appreciate what they bring and use it for their benefit in inspiring them to learn. This piece is perfectly timed as we go back to school and meet our new kids. I am thinking that I don’t really even like the term “classroom management” and want to think of myself as more of a “learning tour guide” and facilitator of learning. I need to create the boundaries of course, but really want kids to own their classroom. Thanks for sharing!

  3. William says:

    I’m going to have to bookmark this link and refer back to it periodically throughout the year.

  4. ktenkely says:

    What a great way to spend your first day. Getting to know our kids idiosyncrasies is a great way to get a glimpse of the real them. You are right, by asking them to change who they are, we are taking away a part of them. As long as what they are doing isn’t rude, disrespectful, or affecting others, let’s not change them. Let’s appreciate each student for who they are. Great Post!

  5. Ben says:

    This post really brings up a timely topic. I would add one thing. What behaviors do we expect from our students and do we, as the teacher, exhibit this behavior in our interactions at school (with students, staff, and parents) as well in our interaction outside of the school environment?

    1. amandacdykes says:

      You know funny you say that. I’ve been dealing with that issue in my school. More than ever this year. We have two types of courses our children can take, Pre-AP and general level. Since day one my goal has been to encourage my students (I teach general level) to believe they are no different than the honors level students. I focus on making them not feel “beneath” the other students. Lately there has been this self-given heirarchy among the Pre-AP teachers, like they think they are “better” teachers as well as our bosses. I thought maybe that I was spoiled by our PLN where most treat each other and each other’s ideas equally no matter our job position. But last week others stated a concern & talked about how hurt they felt through these actions. It’s like we are the “black bird” reading group. I really think teachers should think about this when in front of students and in public. Thanks for putting that put there. I have written two post about this that I ended up deleting.

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