Thursday, November 22, 2018

"Hey Teacher, I'm right here"

Hey Teacher, I'm right here.

I'm new in your classroom, so please be patient while I learn your routines and procedures. Can you help me connect with some friends? I'm kind of shy too, so please ask me questions and get to know me first!

Hey Teacher, I'm right here.

Please don't yell. Maybe you don't intend to, but your loud voice and tone really scares me. I'm sure some of the other students don't like it either. Remember, we are only 6, 7, 8 and 9 years old.

Hey Principal, I'm right here.

Will you listen to me first? I'd like to share why I was so dysfunctional in the classroom today. You see, life at home sucks, and I really need some help. No one ever wants to hear why I am so frustrated. Please help me.

Hey Yard Duty, Noon Duty, Character Coach, I'm right here.

Why do you always watch the same students and side with your own kid? I understand that you are a mom, but aren't you here for #AllKids? Please don't yell at us. Can you listen to all of us before making a decision? Help us be safe and have fun, be here for us, maybe even play a game!

Hey Teacher, I'm right here.

Do you know when you ask us to raise our hands, most of us are petrified to answer? Can we just check in with another student, or write on our white boards first? I hate being called on, because even if I know the answer, I get messed up when I am singled out.

Hey Lunch Lady, I'm right here.

I bet you didn't know that school is the only place I ever eat. You could have asked me why I took some extra fruit and crackers instead of yelling at me and sending me to the office. Did you know my dad is in Jail?

Hey Office Manager, I'm right here.

Could you use a calm voice when I come into the office all upset and crying? I've had two adults already yell at me, I don't need another. Maybe a hug would help. Or, could you listen to me too?

Hey Counselor, I'm right here.

Do you promise not to tell what we talk about? My parents yell at me a lot and sometimes hit me. Other times, they drink and fight really bad. They say if I tell, they'll send me away. I only feel safe at school. Can you help me please?

Hey Parents, I'm right here.

I know I'm not perfect like your kid and I'm "That Other Kid", but really, when you take the time to know me, I'm kind of ok. I do have manners, and can be polite too. Your child isn't always nice when you aren't around you know. I don't have all the cool clothes and shoes, but I am kind.

Hey Teacher, I'm right here.

Maybe you could rethink assigning us homework each night. I love to read, but I hate the math sheets and questions I can easily Google. Can I just go to sports practice, music, explore and play as long as I read instead?
Also, those timed math tests stink! They only increase my anxiety.

Hey Schools, I'm right here.

Please listen and notice #AllKids. We have stories. We have problems. We have big hearts and WANT to be kind. Will you please show me how? Can you be a little more patient and not favor the kids that always do it right the first time? I bet if given a chance, I'll be pretty cool and smart when I grow up too!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Let's put the "We" before "Me"

     So, the Stock Market is rocking, job growth is high, so why then are so many
people Stressed; physically, emotionally, and financially right now? Well, about 2.5 years
ago (3/11/16), one of my eduhero buddies Todd Schmidt and I began blogging about
Something we called #WordsDOmatter. In the posts, we shared all sorts of amazing
examples of how students, teachers, parents and community members were using
powerful, positive words to make our lives better.
     Zip forward to today, Midterm Election Eve, 2018. It seems that the “Me” mindset
has taken over the “We” mindset. But, wait, Jeff, there is SO much good going on
in the world today! Yes, there are A LOT of amazing things taking place, with
positivity, kindness, empathy and love. But so often, across our country and
world, the “We’s” are winning. Take for example a few; our President, Hate Groups
(more than 950 now in the US alone!), Politicians and their edgy “Midterm” ads,
and the all to familiar “ I can’t help or talk now, I’m too busy”.
     Thank goodness for schools! So many of these safe, learning havens, have truly
fantastic leaders, teachers, parents, and community members that are consistently
pushing Love, Empathy, Kindness, ALL, WE, TEAM and other positivity nuggets. Is it
that hard? Can we not just marinate on our words and actions for a few seconds before
we tear someone to shreds? I get it, at times, we have become  too sensitive, and our
“Lawnmower” (Look it up if you haven't heard) and “Helicopter” parents that won’t let
kidsfail, or argue, or stumble without helping has gotten crazy, but, COME.ON.PEOPLE.
    However, there is one area that we do need to be "Me" first, and that is “Self Care”.
This is one area of “Me” that we are falling short. We are a stressed out and overworked
group of humans. Many of us feel we can’t take a day off, or take the time to put in that
run, swim, yoga session, or massage.  While our unemployment rate is low, health
insurance is at an all time high, and if we don’t better care for ourselves, we won’t be
here to care for our children, students, and the next group of leaders. Please, take a day
off. Schedule that massage. Sleep an extra ten minutes. But please, take it from my
friends; Jessica Cabeen, SarahJohnson, and Jessica Johnson, the phenomenal authors
of Balance Like a Pirate, “When you give to others endlessly without concern for your
own well-being, you run the very real risk of temporary or permanent breakdown in your
physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual health.”
     If we could just be more like Mr. Rodgers, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Gandhi,
Jon Gordon, Toby Mack, Brene Brown, and (insert your favorite here). There truly is
so much good in our world, and if, as a group, there is more push to put us as a “We”
first, and a “Me” second, I really think the tides will begin to change. Yes, sticks and
stones may break your bones, but yes, words can hurt us. The old adage, “Don’t say
anything unless you have something nice to say”? Well, the way I see it, is, just say
something nice, it really isn’t that difficult.I’m not saying the world should be filled with
Kindness Ambassadors (well...maybe), but let’s look out for the other guy/gal first once
in a while, not defame, use racist remarks, or words we know will hurt others, or groups.
One by one, with exponential power, let’s change the tide, move the dominoes, and get
back to “We” before “Me”, because yes, #WordsDOmatter.