I am distracted… just like my students. I need to correct their revised paragraphs; I just want to read my book. I get it, the distraction. The distractions that keep us from following through on what needs to get done! And yet…. Life is precarious, this balance of ever growing change and need. I keep getting distracted by the question, what do my students need, really need?
I started this blog, to model a writing practice for my students.
Most of my students think school is geared towards one thing- getting into college. We say we are not, but that is the message my students hear loud and clear. Some of them have no intention of going to college; some want to take a gap year; some are going straight into the military; some do not know what they want.
With this in mind, helping students to self-reflect on what they want no matter how small, I instituted Motivational Mondays – I show a short inspiring video and my students and I set our intention for the week.The intentions range from personal to academic. Some of their intentions: get to bed earlier, use my study hall effectively, write down my homework, shave time off of my run, have a better attitude when we lose a game, eat healthier. Fridays we check in, how did we do?? We get stickers if we stuck to our a goal, (even if sparingly). The ones who don’t – we borrow an attitude from Carol Dweck- not yet! The kids love it!!! I do too because it keeps me accountable.
Why do I do this in English class – because a lot of them will not do it on their own, have not been asked consistently, and/or they need someone who is going to check in with them. What’s been great, is that my students have started to connect the dots, like when they get an extra hour of sleep they concentrate better, when they have a better attitude when they lose they are better able to look at it as learning opportunity, and when they eat healthier they feel better. They are seeing that all these seemingly small intentions flow into all areas of their lives.
What do my students need on any given day? This answer changes pending on the day, however, three needs are consistent: To be heard, listened to, understood.