Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

Nurture vs Educate

Nurture vs Educate | Yes, We Rise

Teachers have heard this quote several times over...

Those who can't do...Teach.

This is such a loaded phrase for me. Being an educator for twelve years I will say, I did not choose this life..this life chose me. I look at the countless years, professional developments, teacher workshops, data crunching, standardized test preparation, yet it does not prepare you for the everyday life of a teacher.

When I was a first year teacher I was told to focus on the student passing the class, and most importantly scoring well on the state standardized test. My job depended on it. Once I got into the classroom I was faced with students not eating since the day before yesterday. Forms not being returned because they have not seen their mother or guardians in days. Children coming to school with the same shirt and pants on for five days straight and the smell to accompany it.

How is a student going to focus when their stomach is louder than their thoughts. I was wondering, "how do I educate when they need so much more?" As I grew in the profession, I lost several students to violence, drugs, and life just beating them down. It was then I decided that in order for the children to plug in I had to get into their world and show them I am human before I tell them they need to learn how to decipher a noun from a verb.

There are many instances where my students asked my colleagues and I to attend things that are way outside of our daily school hours. At first I asked was this something that we should do, and my first principal said, "In fact I encourage it." Countless basketball, football, cheerleading competitions, modeling shows, and several other activities were attended.

At first I used to say... "I am not spending my weekend at a Pop Warner game, an after school sports activity, or at a school sponsored game". Once I started attending I realized sometimes the only support they had was me and their coach. I saw the light in their eyes as they realized I was at the game; it was priceless. I decided at that moment I would step outside of the traditional world of teaching and nurture and educate.

The saying is true... a student does not care how much you know, till they know how much you care.

I have the worst students perform well for me in the classroom and excel in learning because they realized that I actually cared if they were successful. It took me placing myself in their shoes, and to remember how I preformed for the teacher who actually showed me they cared for me outside of my test scores. It was the one who showed up at my after school activities, it was the one who wrote me a recommendation because they actually took the time to get to know me.

One activity I suggest for teachers, as well as parents to do, is have your student freely write things that are on their mind once a week. You will be surprised what students need and what they share when they know you actually read and care. I call it Free Write Friday's and we listen to music when we do it.

I still have students I keep in touch with to this day, some are married, some have kids, and some have said to me if you had not taught me this or showed me this, I would not be where I am. It was when you showed me respect and treated as if I mattered is when I knew you cared. That is when I made the decision that I wanted to not only make my family proud but you as well.

Teaching is a profession that we are tasked with giving education but remember this... when you show them you care it can go further than any book knowledge you ever give

Until the Next....


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