Friday Focus!

September 25, 2015

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.” Garrison Keillor

After teaching Grade 7 for 2 years, I decided to accept a position teaching grade 9 Mathematics. At first, I mistakenly thought that my ninth grade students did not want to please me as much as my seventh graders did. I was shocked by their apparent detachment in terms of my regard for them. Certainly, I guess, my seventh graders needed me much more than these young adolescents. Folks, as you already know, nothing could have been further from the truth. The more time I spent with my junior high students, the more obvious it became that these young adults craved my attention, my guidance, and my approval.

Our students at Almadina feel the same about you. They need you. They rely on you for instruction, compassion, and consistency. Although it may not always be readily apparent, your students like it when you take control. Your students know that good teachers control their classrooms, and they understand and appreciate the boundaries you set. Middle school students thrive in an atmosphere where the teacher

  1. Stresses self-discipline and communicates with parents regarding progress in this critical area.
  2. They respect teachers who discipline students in a firm yet respectful manner that does not sacrifice a student’s dignity.
  3. Effective teachers establish a set of clear, though limited, expectations with consequences that are consistent and fair.
  4. Teachers who are well organized tend to have the most disciplined classes. The structure of the classroom prevents a lot of off-task behavior, and students know what to expect from day to day.

Being fair and consistent requires courage on the part of teachers, but students will admire those teachers who stand up for what is right and speak out when they observe unfairness. The curriculum you must cover in your grades is enormous and even daunting. However, the values you teach your students may be even more important. Students expect you to have beliefs and opinions not only about your subject matter but also about what is right and what is wrong.

 

Sadly, much of what our students learn from textbooks at this age may be forgotten over time. The life lessons you teach them, however, will last a lifetime! Thanks for skillfully imparting unto our students what I consider to be an exceptional and comprehensive curriculum. Thank you also for teaching them relevant lessons about life. You are their role model; you may doubt this at times, but even during these moments of doubt, remember this truth. Our kids are watching us and learning from us within the walls of our classrooms and beyond. Therefore, be firm, be fair, be consistent, and use good judgment. Teach your students what you know, but also who you are. Everywhere I go, I find myself admiring the many virtues of the Almadina teaching force; thank you all for making this such an easy and sincere act in which to engage!

Have a great weekend

Jamal