Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Focus: The ONE Goal for Week 1 of School

My One Goal = Listening to Students

I meet my new students on Monday. And I have one goal. If I can accomplish this for every student who shows up on Monday, I will. If not on Monday, then by the end of the week.  

My goal is this: I want to connect with every single student who walks through my door as an individual. I want them to go away thinking, "That man cares about me. That man is going to listen to me. That man is going to respect me. That man is going to teach me. That man is going expect great things of me."

If my students don't think those things on Monday, I will try again on Tuesday and on Wednesday and so on.

And those things will be true of me, whether they think them or not at first. I will care about them. I will listen to them. I will respect them. I will teach them. I will expect them to learn great things.

I really believe that the listening piece is the key to all of it. 

I think that listening is the key to all human relationships.  

Seriously. This is how I know that I am loved.  Someone takes the time to listen to me. This is how I show love; I listen. 

If I won't listen to you I am saying that you are not important to me.
If I listen, I am saying that you are a big deal to me.

It is when my head gets flooded with stuff that I don't listen well. The blinking lights of life crowd in. I think I need to attend to a dozen different things all at once. This is what it feels like to be a teacher.

But I contend that I don't need to try to keep track of a dozen things at once. If I plan correctly, most things should be in place. 

If things like email (or whatever) start demanding my attention while I'm working at listening to a child, a child I need to form a bond with and work with for the next ten months, I need to put the child first. Other things can wait.

My priority, week one of school, is to listen more than is comfortable for me to my new students, to give that all I've got. I want to over-deliver on this.  

To do this, some other things may need to go on the back burner. Some of the blinking lights in my life may have to wait.

Once the student knows that I will listen to them, then the other blinking lights can be attended to.

This is key to having a great year with kids.

And by the way, this contact needs to be established with every transfer student all year long. They need to be treated like human beings not a seat occupier.

Will I attend to the rules and procedures and content during week one? Of course. These come in the planning. Everything gets planned out. 

But THE MOST IMPORTANT thing will be to listen. 

To be successful, we need to focus on just one thing at a time. This is the focus.

"I'm here. You are welcome here. And I am listening to you."

I'd love to hear what you think about this on Twitter or Facebook. I'm @artfling on Twitter and you can like the Stress Relief 4 Teachers site on Facebook. Or join our newsletter and have more back and forth on stress relieving topics.