Sunday, October 23, 2016

The World's Most Valuable Resources

Our Precious Students

Dear Readers,

I recently attended the National Character Conference in Washington, DC and was moved by a breakout session facilitated by Scarlett Lewis. Scarlett lost her son Jesse in the Sandy Hook tragedy. She was such a courageous, inspiring and positive individual. I learned so much from her about forgiveness and the ability to move forward. 

It was a reminder to me that when families send their children to us, they are entrusting us with their children's lives and to keep them safe.  Being a co-facilitator of the Building Safety Team has been one of the most fulfilling and important committees I have ever had the pleasure of serving on. 

Creating a safe learning environment is a huge passion of mine. It includes not only the physical environment, but the social, mental, emotional, academic, etc. needs of our students as well. Always getting to know the whole child and building relationships.


I have always given 100% to my role as a teacher because I know it is what my kids deserve. When I discovered the book, Kids Deserve It, by Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney, I just fell in love with the message.

Here is one quote that really resonated with me:

"We live in a world where we can no longer claim ignorance-only an unwillingness to learn." 
(page 24)

We are all members of a global community and are educating students to be empathetic, knowledgeable, caring citizens. In order to do that, we must also be empathetic, knowledgeable and caring individuals.  It is our responsibility to seek out and understand different perspectives, current events and world wide issues including social injustices to best instruct our students and prepare them for the future.

"We have the power to tear down or build up the children who walk into our lives every day." 
(page 83)

By seeing the world through various lenses, it allows us to gain the perspective of people different than us. Students feel social, emotional and mental stresses that some of us could not even begin to imagine. However, being a role model and showing empathy can make a world of difference in a child's day, week, month or even life. All of our students are unique and precious in their own way. It is part of our job as educators to let them know, feel and believe that. Our words, actions and body language can speak volumes. They can raise a child to great heights or plummet them to ultimate lows.

"Strong relationships must be at the forefront of what you do each day on your campus." 
(page 117)

Our learning environments should feel as safe and secure as possible. Building relationships inside and outside the classroom can have an incredible impact on young people. Whether it be spending lunch with them, going to a sporting event, attending a chorus concert or chaperoning a weekend field trip. For some students, these are the moments they crave and look forward to, having an adult that shows an interest, cares about them and supports them.

"We chose to become educators so we could change lives and impact future generations." 
(page 124)

"Reading to classes is hands down the most influential action I do as a principal." 
(page 179)

As a literacy teacher and former speech therapist, books have always had a special and profound place in my heart. Connecting students to themes, characters, conflicts, cultures, communities, etc. using literature is a powerful tool. It was one of my favorite parts of the book. Everyone loves to hear a good story. Thank you Adam and Todd for embracing the power of reading.

Final Thoughts

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Kids Deserve It, I highly recommend it. It is a resource packed with ideas to take into the classroom as soon as possible. The message it sends is that our kids deserve the best from us. They deserve to be cared for, loved and prepared for a future global society that does not exist yet.

Thank you to Scarlett Lewis for sharing her story. I will be forever changed by it.

To my students, I love and care for ALL of you!

(one of my classes)