Monday, September 26, 2016

Manage with the Right Mindset

Manage with the Right Mindset

We spend so much time planning and being proactive, thinking about how we assess our students, and what we will do if they don't show mastery or if they do show mastery. Behavior and classroom management must follow the same continual improvement process. Teachers and administrators must plan and practice management scenarios, “expect” students to ask for materials at inopportune times, to arrive to class without a pass or with food in their mouths, to be playing a game on their laptops, to shout back when redirected in front of a whole group, and to even simply refuse to complete work. These aren’t instances that should create visual frustration, verbal shock, and a heated staff-student interaction. This “type” of encounter is more than what it appears, and it represents the realization that schools must differentiate for management.

We (schools and staff) must teach kids how to live in our world because, sadly, so much of theirs does not involve the need to recognize and take responsibility. 16 hours a day outside of classroom walls, students can post, snap, text, and tweet responses without having to explain themselves, and rarely are they held accountable. Adult-student relationships are no longer cemented in the minds of our kids- teachers have become partners and likes, and followers, out of touch observers, and often mirror images of reactive officials. Knowing all of this, and interacting with the youth of today doesn't change our expectations- instead it ignites our approach to create social emotional systems that focus on the goals and rights of each child.

Interventions and actions can't simply be a warning, a phone call, a lunch detention, a referral, and a “rinse and repeat stance.” We don't teach by saying, “here is what you will learn, you will learn it, your parents now know you will learn it, and if you don't learn it, I'm telling the principal.” We must incorporate mindfulness, intentional thought, peer mediation, restorative justice, and community conversation into our new social-emotional approach. It is not about saying, “you must follow these rules because I said so and your future job requires you to do this”…it is all about saying, “ we have created this together so we can learn how to live well in each moment and with each choice in our lives.” As all teachers know, behavior is a response to instruction, yet we cannot achieve success until we all celebrate a growth mindset for each of our kids. We are all responsible for what our students learn, we are all responsible for how they behave, and we owe it to everyone to manage with the right mindset.

Charlie Seamans
Assistant Principal
6 Grade Academy Leader

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I Support You!

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou

We have all been through a lot of changes. Sometimes I think changes are difficult and wished they didn’t happen. Even though I am an adult, I struggle with change sometimes.  Sometimes I wish I could see the future to figure out where all of this is going. However, that is not the way life is set up. Change happens no matter how much we try to fight it.

However, change can be a great thing. For example, Mrs. Wise stepped out of the classroom to travel all of South Carolina to talk with teachers, students, and administrators. I know she misses all of us, but this change allows her to experience things she would have never before dreamed. Instead of fighting the change, she embraced it and went boldly into her calling. We can use her experience as an example for our lives.

Sometimes we resist change because we are so comfortable in our routine of life. The ‘we have always done it this way’ mentality gets very comfortable, and we often miss out on some of the greatest things because we don’t want to open our eyes to other possibilities. This school year has brought about a lot of changes with the new administration, teachers, and friends. I’ve had to step into more of a leadership role this year and to be honest with you, I have avoided this previously because I was comfortable just being me. However, becoming a leader has opened up more opportunities and introduced me to some amazing people. I have learned that just being me, isn’t being the GREATEST me! Change has developed me into someone stronger and wiser.

Teaching and learning are always changing and advancing. Our lives are about changing from day to day, and no two days are ever the same. As a teacher, I get apprehensive about letting go of my previous year’s students because I am so used to their attitudes, behaviors, and personalities. With a new group, I do not know what to expect. However, every year, I get a group of kids who I really like, and they make teaching worthwhile.

I am learning just like you to become comfortable with the many changes we face in our lives. Even though change can be uncomfortable, it helps to build us into a newer version of ourselves. Do not stand in your own way. Do not block amazing opportunities. Step out there and be bold. Reinvent yourself and never apologize for being better than you were yesterday. I support you.

Danielle Odom
8th Grade English Teacher
2016 -2017 Teacher of the Year
Twitter: @OdomADanielle