Speaking of getting pulled around, too

As I contemplate a new semester, I am trying to figure out how to feel less pulled around myself. Here is the classic problem as I have faced it every year, every semester change.

By the last few weeks of semester, I am tired of the behaviour of some students:

  • coming to class late
  • texting during documentaries, movies, lectures, discussions
  • wasting independent work time
  • turning in work late
  • coming to class without school supplies, materials
  • being unprepared to present to the class

I, of course, have some power over this. I could not accept late work, take their cell phones at the door, not let them in without materials, and leave them in the hallway to stew if they are late.

I tend to be more in the camp of:

  • anyone who needs extra time should get it
  • life happens, so deadlines can be flexible
  • I can’t mark work down for being late anyway
  • I’d rather give students materials and have them engage than miss out
  • Students should learn appropriate behaviour for cell phone use – taking it won’t teach them
  • Anyone who shows up gets a welcome smile and a ‘Come in, it’s great to see you.’
  • Relationships are important, and I need to walk a fine line between pushing students to be their best and alienating students with ongoing nagging and ultimatums
  • Students will get to know me and enjoy the activities I work hard to prepare. They will rise to the occaision, gradually coming to respect my rules and expectations and improve their behaviour

Except that sometimes they don’t.

Of course I work on Principles of Creating Student Interest with every step. It hangs on my bulletin board and help inform my instruction.

I can’t square this round. Maybe it can’t be sqared. Maybe it is just the hard work that we do and I have to just get on with all the things I do when faced with this and accept that no magic bullet will fix this for the diverse group of people I work with.

Today, feeling frustrated, I needed to run into this blog, Heart of Education. (Thank You, Twitter!)

Tom’s Ten Tenets

     Over the course of my almost thirty years in education some themes have emerged that have guided my work over time. What’s really interesting for me is that they continue to be relevant with the work I do with educators today. These ten tenets frame my beliefs and are part of the message I share today. Over the next few weeks I will write a separate post about each one and share some of the significance I think they play as we continue to refine what we do to produce the best outcomes for students and all educators. Here’s my top ten list (in no priority):

1. Learning does NOT take place in ten-month segments.  It is continuous.

2. Every day provides a new opportunity to exert a positive influence.

3. It’s not about arriving.  It’s about striving!

4. When we eliminate hope, we create desperation.

5. Dreams should come in size XXXL so that we can grow into them.

6. What we focus on expands.

7. Every student represents a success story waiting to be told.

8. Are you looking for a Code of Conduct or a Code of Consequence?

9. If we don’t model what we teach, then we are teaching what we model.

10. First with the heart, then with the head.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thinking on these ten tenets and hope they provide a spark for you to take forward to ignite a conversation with your colleagues.

I am interested in number 8, and I will tweek my Code of Consequences. I look forward to reading his thoughts on this. In the meantime, I will post rest of these wonderful principles next to my current lists.

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