The focus is student achievement. And why not? The goal of education is to learn, to grow continuously so that one can make a contribution to the world and society by finding their niche. With that comes the ability to have a job and take care of oneself and one’s family.
I talk a lot about being “ready to learn.” Teachers and administrators must share responsibility for this with the parents. What can the school, teachers and administration do? How can they foster a positive environment in which students can shed the baggage of whatever else is going on in their life and come into a classroom where they are valued. If you feel good, your presence matters, and you contribute, you will do better. Accomplishment improves student achievement and self-esteem. Why don’t we take the time to focus on this aspect more? What would it mean to give it a few minutes a day?
Learning time is precious. Teachers are stressed deluxe to get in everything they think is needed for students to reach the learning goals. Everyone is afraid to take a few minutes to stretch, talk, relax, and get perspective on the world. It is uncomfortable to step out of the box, nonetheless, those few minutes of diversion and stress relief can reap big rewards.
Kids need to learn to focus, feel good, understand their feelings and those of others. As well, they need to look for the good stuff. Find what is positive about their day, their life and as a result, gain a new perspective. It becomes easier to learn and focus when you feel good, motivated. Harness that attention and run with it. Then truly, every child can learn. Every child is good at something. Find it.
There are different ways to encourage social and emotional well-being. I have had a “question of the day” for kids to volunteer and discuss. They get to know me and I get to know them. I step out of my world and into theirs. “What’s your favorite TV show and why?” “What do you do in your free time and why do you enjoy that?”
There are activities for movement and body awareness. Discover that we are all different and yet we are all the same. It’s beneficial for students to be able to find their “center” and go there when they feel upset or stressed. They can learn how to focus and not become random during assessments. These skills are valuable in life and encourage students to do their best.
Yes, I believe the parents are partners and must help their children come to school ready to learn. Teachers can help too. Teach empathy through activity and example. Talk about feelings. Open the door. Why is it so hard to reveal the human qualities of all of us? If we do this, we can find the common denominators in learning what needs to be learned. The added value is the human experience and looking at what is positive in life. This optimism can only help to breed success.