I know this may be common sense to people but it was what I was thinking about today, so I'm posting about it! I am a big believer that we miss many opportunities to make genuine connections with people in this world. Maybe our obsessiveness with technology (I got my phone out to take a picture of a rainbow the other day and was like--why not just enjoy the rainbow! Everyone is always walking around with their nose in their phones!). Maybe it's just a matter of not enough time-although we make time for things that are important to us.
Connecting with Students:
1) One way I try to connect with them is to try and share things about myself. They know who my dog Ruby is. They know I like to go to the library. They know I like to read. In the beginning of the year I even share with them my life at their age:
My Halloween costume in Kindergarten. My mom was so creative-she made it!
Missing teeth and a broken arm-what a mess! I broke my arm in gymnastics class doing a back walkover. My dad, who was watching heard it crack and fainted. My mom carried us both to the hospital! :)
And they remember these things. Months later they will comment on something that I shared with them when I didn't even think they were listening.
2) Eat lunch with them. I started doing this at the end of the year last year. We have a little patio area with tables and I would take the kids by table out there. Not a reward for good behavior, not only my "favorite" students-everyone would have a turn. Kids who never speak would be talking up a storm. A great opportunity to get to know them better.
3) Use their interests. If I know Johnny loves dinosaurs I will read Dinosaurs Love Underpants as a free reading choice and let him know I chose that for him (because what boys don't like talking about underpants as well :). If Mary is in ballet class I will read Angelina Ballerina and let her know I thought of her. Then I am remembering the details of things they told me.
With Your Team-this one I think is harder for many reasons. Sometimes you work with people who are clock in clock out people-they don't want to make connections with you. Sometimes people are very busy with their lives and just don't have time for it either.
1) Eat lunch together once a week. Those e-mails and phone calls you have to return will wait! I love talking to people who I work with about their families and things unrelated to teaching if only for 15 minutes. It's nice to have that time to talk to grown-ups.
2) Meet before the school year starts. I'm so excited to be meeting my new team for lunch next week. Yes, I'm sure we will discuss planning items, but we will also bond a little bit as well.
3) Make time before each team meeting to share successes. I don't think we do that enough. Last year I had a great moment. My class was doing a group activity where they were competing. At first they started cheering for individual students--"let's go Mary, let's go". And then all of a sudden they all started cheering "let's go everybody, let's go". They all cheered for each other! I recorded it and really wanted to share it with someone...but I didn't have that kind of relationship with the team I was on.
Just some thoughts I had today on ways we can connect better with people. It's one of my goals this year. Let me know if you have any other suggestions! :)