A Clear Focus

So I’ve been taking advantage of the absolute gift of being on campus with students so far this year, by spending a considerable amount of time in classrooms, and it has been a truly joyful experience for me. There are so many things that have impressed me about our teachers lately that I’ve been able to see first hand, not the least of which is their ability to engage and inspire our kids in the face of all the restrictions that we have in place, and of course, the incredible effort that they are giving each and every day to try and make school as “normal” as possible for our young learners. If that wasn’t already enough, what I’ve seen lately throughout many of my classroom visits has inspired me to no end. 

You see, over the past several weeks, I’ve sat in on many lessons where the clear objective and focus from teachers has been on preparing our kids to be better people for our world…change makers for our community, and delivering the academic concepts and content in a way that uplifts and unites, and gets the students to think and act beyond themselves. I’ve seen many lessons lately where students have learned to be independent, and how to resolve conflict, and how to work as a team, and the importance of seeking to understand another person’s perspective instead of judging or dismissing…all the skills that the world truly and desperately needs these days. I’ve seen lessons where the focus has been on tolerance and inclusion, and empathy and diversity, and where teachers for example have chosen an interactive read-aloud that celebrates the strength that all of our differences bring to the building of a community…so good. 

In line with this, I just happened to watch the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, the other day, which I highly recommend. It reminded me that there are forces at work in our society that are very good at isolating, and dividing, and polarizing us through our experiences with social media, and how easy it is these days to be splintered away from each other…pitted against each other by using our differences to divide us instead of to unite us. We live in such a tricky world these days, with so much that can be disconnecting, which makes it even more important that we teach our students how to be the people that we need for our future…and to model this for them as educators. 

I’ve been inspired these days by what I’ve seen in my classroom visits, and I want to encourage even more of it. We have an opportunity, no, we have a responsibility as educators to find ways to use our time with our students to unite, and to uplift…to create the change makers that our world needs and that our future deserves. We need to keep a clear focus on teaching our kids not just to be good students, but to be good people for each other and for our world. People who are kind, and compassionate, and empathetic, and independent, and who seek to understand and unite as opposed to being close minded and dismissive. I want to thank all of you who have really taken this to heart, and I want to encourage you to double down in your efforts to keep this clear focus at the heart of your lesson planning. I see the effort that you are all putting in to create little change makers for our community and for our world, and it’s a beautiful thing. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people. – Roy T. Bennett

Inspiring Videos – 

Halloween Gesture – Beautiful

Ballerina Dances Again

Saving a Pig

Alex Trebec tribute

Surfing in Cold Water (oldie but goodie)

Inspiring TED Talk –

The Language of Being Human

Related Articles – 

Teaching Kids Kindness

Teaching Kids About the World

Creating Kindness

Social Skills and Academics

Supporting the Whole Child

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