“We have to start with the assumption that everything you do in the classroom can have a major impact on a child’s life, not only in the classroom but later, too,”
Dr. Robert Brooks-Raising Resilient Children
First day back from a long and much needed winter break… My first graders walk into the classroom excited to tell about their little treasures they received during the holidays. Robert walks into the classroom, hair is a mess, dark circles under his eyes, but has a big smile on his face and gives me a big hug. A hug that melts my heart and makes me appreciate being back in the classroom.
As the day continues, Robert is back to his normal routines of being unfocused, distracting others, and not getting along with anyone and overall, gets me asking colleagues “How many more days until spring break?” We all have experienced Robert.
CHANGE YOUR LENS!
My goal when I started this career of teaching after being a probation officer for 10 years was to be compassionate and to have empathy! Therefore, I change my lens often and put aside biases, assumptions and personal feelings that I may have in order to help each student succeed by looking through the lens of 6 and 7 year old. In other words, walk a mile in Robert’s shoes. There is always a reason for a child’s behavior, you just have to open your eyes and mind to what the causes may be by looking at the situation through their eyes. Ask yourself, why is Robert behaving this way? How is Robert benefiting from his behavior? What may cause Robert to behave this way? What is the impact of these external pressures and how might Robert’s behavior be impacted? These questions will guide you as you talk with Robert.
CHANGE YOUR LENS!…
There are an infinite number of lenses that teachers can look through such as poverty, challenging home life, mental health, illnesses, personality traits and so on. In order to change your lens you must be able to step out of your daily life and put aside biases, assumptions and your own personal feelings. In Roberts case, poverty and a challenging home life is Roberts lens. Therefore, Robert may be feeling a little anxiety about his situation when it comes to sharing about his holiday break and listening to the other students holiday break. Robert may need different outlets to share about his experiences in order to help him with his self-perception.
Robert’s story is one 0f many different stories that we read and interact with on a daily basis. Roberts lens is one of many different lenses that we must look through in order to teach effectively and help build self-perception. As we move forward in the year, the constant pressure of academic skills that need to be taught, deadlines, absences, money and political strife, please remember to change your lens often and look at students behavior through their eyes. The child’s overall well-being should always be our goal as educators, SO…CHANGE YOUR LENS!
As educators, we are often role models for our students for behaviors and expectations. Showing empathy is a skill that needs to be explicitly taught and modeled throughout the day. How do you explicitly teach students to change their lens?
I believe that the foundation of all learning begins in the home and all students are "OUR" students.Not yours, not mine but OURS.