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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in teacher-student relationships

Posted by on in General

b2ap3_thumbnail_Boot-camp.jpg

The social skill of the week was “Asking Permission.” My seventh graders were writing about an experience that had involved their use of this skill. The room was quiet as they filled out their index cards and as I prepared for the day’s lesson.

I looked up and scanned the room. Everybody was on task. Except Ivan. The squirrely boy was on all fours, crawling on the floor between desks.

“Ivan!” I bellowed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for my pencil,” he replied with a giggle.

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Posted by on in General

red thread

Doris and Carl Malone sat at their usual table in The Forgotten Crumb enjoying the performances of slightly inebriated patrons searching for their fifteen minutes of fame at the karaoke microphone. The couple had met here nearly twenty-eight years before, fallen in love, and married on the very stage that was now a platform for a middle-aged woman trying her best to sound like Barbra Streisand. She was followed by a young construction worker channeling his inner Barry Manilow and then by an elderly couple singing “I Got You Babe,” expertly and comedically nailing the mannerisms of Sonny and Cher.

Doris relaxed, enjoying the music, but enjoying her time with the love of her life more so. When Carl impulsively rose and moved toward the stage though, she gasped and blushed. This was something she would never consider doing in public despite the fact that she was in front of a demanding crowd of third graders every Monday through Friday. Carl, on the other hand, had no inhibitions, and moved confidently toward the microphone.

With the first few notes of “Song Sung Blue,” Doris felt happy tears rolling down her cheeks. Our song, she mused. Better even than Neil Diamond himself.

“Song sung blue, weeping like a willow,
Song sung blue, sleeping on my pillow...”

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Posted by on in General

hand turkey

Twenty-one paper turkeys (looking suspiciously like twenty-one first grade hands) flocked together on the window at the entrance of Mrs. Dodd's classroom. The finger-feathers on each glistened in colors never intended by nature but ever so vivid in the giant 64 crayon box with the sharpener on back - colors like "magenta," "Caribbean green," "periwinkle," "salmon," "carnation pink," and "robin egg blue." Each bird’s thumb-head was complete with wattle, giant smile and soulful human-like eyes. Some were even adorned with necklaces and baseball caps.

As I entered the classroom, I was immediately surrounded by my adoring six-year-old fans each clamoring to give me a hug, each eager to share his or her work with me. Mrs. Dodd, accustomed to my daily walk-throughs, endured this interruption with immense grace. I love first graders, but I certainly do not have the courage to spend six hours a day locked in a room with a flock of them.

This particular group of kids was one of my favorites to visit during my morning tour of campus. The students beamed as I listened to them read their journals aloud to me. They delighted in “teaching” me how to add problems on their little white boards. And they laughed as I sat on the floor with them in their reading circle and waved my hand impatiently when Mrs. Dodd asked a question. They even composed a "stop in your tracks - just relax" song especially for me which they willingly sang upon request on days when I needed it most.

Thanksgiving week marks the beginning of the holiday season, the beginning of "hyper-energy mode" for children of all ages who can barely contain their excitement. The three day school week helps to ease teachers and students alike into this stressful time and provides a little motivation for getting the work at hand accomplished.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Here’s a recent conversation between my wife and me:

Danielle: “Don, it’s freezing outside, wear a coat.’ 

Me:   It’s not that cold. 

Danielle: It's windy? Do you know how strong the wind is? Don, the wind is blowing 50 miles an hour.

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Posted by on in General

 principals office

Stocky kindergartener Leonard was sent to my office on the fourth day of school for hitting another little boy and for refusing to do his work. He was to return several more times that first month of school for similar transgressions. Visits with his mother were somewhat encouraging - and behavior problems subsided - but only temporarily. Before long, the little boy was back in the office lobby waiting for the assistant principal to intervene again.

Free-spirited eighth grader Tony was also a frequent flyer for similar reasons. Couldn't work quietly. Wouldn't keep his hands to himself. Disrupted and distracted in every one of his classes. Tony was a likeable kid - a little goofy, but relatively harmless. After the first month of school, I was a little tired of his presence in my office.

One afternoon, both boys found themselves sitting in my office at the same time. Tony had been sailing paper airplanes across his math classroom. Leonard had been urinating on the outside wall of the kindergarten building. "I told the playground aide I had to go to the bathroom," he explained, "and she said, 'Then just go,' so I did!"        

Tony raised his right hand and little Leonard high-fived him. Too tired to reprimand the older boy, I turned my attention to the kindergartener and asked, "After you went, did you wash your hands?"

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