A lesson in Acceptance
This last week was very basic to be completely honest. There wasn’t much to talk about. The class has had a few struggles with basic instructions, things such as how to stand in line and many times keeping from talking at inappropriate times.
The major lesson that the class had the opportunity to learn was the importance of accepting people and respecting them.
Early in the week I had a student approach me claiming that many students were calling her by the wrong name. The student was very upset and uncomfortable with the students’ behavior.
I approached the class and I mentioned it subtly, leaving the student’s name out of the conversation; so that she wouldn’t feel more uncomfortable.
The problem was not resolved, actually in some ways it may have gotten worst. On a few occasions I noticed that when the student would walk around the classroom, a few of the students would whisper the incorrect name under their breaths, making her even more uncomfortable. I felt horrible!
Once again, I approached the class and reminded the students of the last conversation that we had and the agreement that we came up with. The agreement didn’t hold!
I decided that I would approach the class again, but this time I asked the student to share her feelings of what the class was doing. Before I had the student share, I spoke to the class while the student was out of the room. This time I used the student’s name and explained that she feels uncomfortable in the classroom. I also expressed by disappointment in the fact that my classroom has become an uncomfortable place for some students.
I felt the hearts of many students drop to their stomachs. They knew they needed to apologize.
At the next chance that I got, I asked the student to speak to the class. She shared her feelings to the class. She was so brave! I think it made her feel better!
After she shared her feelings, the class apologized. There were even some of the boys that explained that meaning of the name that they were calling her.
In a few words, the boys had noticed that this student had the same name as a celebrity and they explained that by calling her that name I was their way of calling her a superstar because they saw that particular celebrity as a superstar.
This is a lesson many of us need to learn when it comes to dealing with different people. When it comes to our differences, we should accept them and learn to celebrate them instead of putting each other down for the differences.
Teacher’s Diary: The first three weeks
It’s July 25, 2016. It is the start of a new school year. I have taken a fifth grade position at a brand new school in Phoenix, AZ. I have been in trainings and meetings for this new school district for the last week. Am I prepared for what is in store for me yet?
I have just completed my first three weeks at a new school. So, far the experience has been a great one. I think I may be actually getting a grip on myself in this role. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of teaching and protecting students and showing them love and kindness as well as a firm belief. I guess sometimes it takes a while to find your place. Man, I hope I’ve found it.
The First week of the school year started on a Wednesday. We were actually told not to begin any academics that week due to the fact that it was a short week. Plus, we wanted the students to get comfortable in the classroom. This means that we did a lot of “Get to know you” activities where the students answer questionnaires, and participate in activities that involve being out your seat and meeting the strangers around you.
One the First day of school I wore a red cape that the librarian loaned me and a multicolored mask that I created with the school staff the week prior. It seemed that one action helped make the students feel more comfortable as they entered into the new school. Students would walk in with a shocked look in their face, unsure if they were in the right room. Parents probably questioned my teaching credentials, yet they were also very amused by the uncommon ice breaker.
I spent the first three days just explaining and going over routines, procedures, and expectations. I also took the opportunity to get to know the students and allow the students’ time to get to know each other, due to the fact that this is a brand new facility.
The students are beginning to break out of their shells; slowly, but surely. They are beginning to talk more; many are beginning to test the rules and the teacher’s responses. Obviously I expected this behavior sooner than later. Anytime you put new people in a new environment there will be some individuals that are looking to find the boundaries and try to push them to their furthest extent.
We, as in the fifth grade team, started creating lesson plans as well. Up until this point any academic movement in the classroom was at the hands of the individual teacher. Personally, I was only working on review materials from fourth grade to ease the students into the work expectations and the amount of work that we would be doing.
On Thursday night I stayed with my team and worked on a folder for a substitute as well as lesson plans for the next week. We were there until eight pm! The substitute folder was meant to go to the office for just such an incident where the teacher was absent and unable to prepare for the substitute. The lesson plans also took a long time due to the fact that the format that we were using was new to us and we had to learn it in order to properly use it.
Everyday I begin the morning with preparing for the students: I print out and copy paper and set up power points and set up our points chart. I also pray for myself and the students before they show up. Setting up this routine is going to be critical to the success of this school year. If I slack in the area of preparation and prayer than my school year will be so much more difficult that it should be. (Believe me, I know.) I pray for the class because I want to students to be impacted in more than just an academic way. I want them to realize that they are loved and cared for and that they are important to me, the parents, and most importantly God.
It was a pretty average week; the students tested limits, looking for an accurate response from the teacher while some students were given classroom jobs and tasks to perform, nothing special. We finally began diving into the academic aspect of the classroom and I must say it has been a success.
On Wednesday of this week a student came up to me and asked if she could write one the board. I automatically said, “No.”
She asked again.
I said, “No.”
She quickly explained that it was something for me. So, of course I said, “Yes.”
“Mr. G, you are the best teacher. Keep on teaching, please.” The board read as I starred at it at the end of the day.
It felt great! We hadn’t been in school long, but it’s good to know that I’m helping a student learn. It felt great to be in an atmosphere where students value their teachers and have respect for them. It felt great to have that beginning feeling of belonging.
My motivation is to work harder. My motivation is to try more. My motivation is to keep a smile on my face and also to put a smile on theirs.
LET’S KEEP ROCKING!
Anthony K. Giesick
Actions are taken everyday that help make this world better and I just want to share them with you.