Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting to the "Main Event"

Over the weekend, my mentor teacher from my first teaching job posted a link to this blog post. The teacher implores students to realize that the content learned in school is not the "main event." The teacher argues that the social and emotional learning that goes into getting up, getting to class, engaging with the material and others, and getting the work done is the main event of school.

I think I've always believed that. I nodded emphatically in graduate school when we were told we were going out into the world to teach students not content. I've embraced one-on-one conversations with students about how to change their attitude and believe in their ability to meet adversity with grace (instead of the oft used alternatives of yelling or shutting down).

But I'm not sure I've communicated to my students outside of our weekly community meetings why school's main events are about so much more than grades and sitting quietly for forty-five minute stretches. I'm going to share this blog post with them and discuss what it means to not quit and what support they need not to just make it through these last few weeks of school but to thrive in them. I'll report back on what I hear.

One of my teacher friends with whom I shared this link said she planned to edit out the "grow a pair" statement not for it's "colorful" aspect but because she doesn't want students to see success as gendered. I think Ms. C is spot on, and I'll be doing the same.

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