Friday, September 04, 2015

Fist bumps are fine, but I'm a hugger

Teacherscribe's Teaching Tip #4 (inservice week)

We began the final inservice day with a great session led by each building's administration and our superintendent.  Then we ended it with perhaps the most uninspiring presentation from our school lawyer ever.  He was a fine presenter, but his message was the antithesis of all that our administration and superintendent celebrated earlier in the day: Culture.

We have a mantra at LHS: "Culture eats strategy for lunch."  But all the lawyer was focused on was strategy.

He is an excellent attorney and is an expert in law.  Unfortunately, he knows nothing about the kids we teach in our classrooms and coach in our sports every single day.

I'm not against boundaries and following rules, but no student ever returns to a school to thank a teacher who impacted them and said, "Thanks for keeping your distance when I really needed it" or "Thank you so much for following the student handbook so well.  It really made an impact on me."

So my final tip of inservice week is to remember that we teach kids.  It's our job to be role models and to show them - in the words of one of my heroes in education, Deborah Meier, how awesome it is to grow up and become an adult who is curious, passionate, and a life long learner.

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't associate any of those adjectives to our speaker and his message yesterday.

One of the things at the core of my teaching philosophy is approaching the material with my students not as an all knowing teacher bestowing information on my students but as co-learners.  In other words, we are in this together and we need to learn together.

That means we sometimes work as peers.  That was a big no-no in yesterday's message.  But he is wrong.

We will begin this year with very heavy hearts as our Prowler family lost Grace Woods today to cancer.  Our kids will be hurting and grieving.  Her life will be celebrated, for she touched so many of us (even if we never had her in class) with her fearlessness, compassion, and spirit.  Tears will be shed.  Hugs will be given.  I hope so anyway.  Not fist bumps.

In my opinion, that is what makes Prowler Nation a family and not just a bunch of people simply doing their jobs and following policies.

1 comment:

Shari Daniels said...

Thank you for writing this, Kurt. I think we all felt some of the same feelings you did. Much of our teaching and learning does not come from us, it comes from our kids in our joint quest to figure something out. . . as peers. We write together, read together and we grieve together. There are many moments that warrant a hug because a high five or fist bump would just never do.
Shari -)