A fellow public educator tweeted a great little nugget of wisdom tonight. He stated, “School climate isn’t built through better policies- it’s built through better relationships.”
It’s so very true- in school and in life. How many times have we botched a situation simply because we didn’t take time to build a relationship first? How many policies are written without first taking time to get to know first hand and gotten in the trenches with the situation? Our public schools are in dire need of people who care about those building those relationships. Our society is in desperate need for those relationships instead of the knee-jerk reactions we often see put into action.
I love teaching. I really do. Even if I wasn’t in a traditional school setting my career would still involve teaching in some way. Connecting with others fuels my soul in a way nothing else can. Even with all of the struggles, headaches and heartache that happen on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis I really do love teaching.
What I don’t love are rules, policies, and testing procedures that are neither best practice nor are they appropriate. What does someone in business know about teaching kids? Why do lawmakers assume we don’t know what we are doing because we are “just teachers”? Why then do I need to have continuing education in order to keep teaching? It’s like me telling a doctor I know how to do a procedure better simply because I’ve previously been to a doctor and follow a YouTube channel. It’s the same logic. No different than the FBI trying to keep cheating out of athlete recruitment, the USDA controlling grain prices because farmers make too much money, and women are made to feel less than when they advocate for themselves.
The list of injustices in our daily news is astounding. I’m not trying to push my personal political views on anyone; I am, however, trying to get kids to learn to advocate for themselves. In order to do that effectively they have to trust that others hear them. They have to believe I’m not feeding them a line of bull by convincing them to stand up for themselves and their rights as citizens in our communities. We need to stop discounting their voices just because they’re young. If more people would take the time to get to really know our kids I think we’d find that kids haven’t really changed all that much over the years. What’s changed is our ability to connect and be present with them.
So the challenge I present to you is this: how can you be present and build a relationship in an important area of your life? What can you do that will make a difference for others and yourself?