Dr. Jody talks about showing genuine interest in the things they enjoy. This is a major part of how I build community in my classroom. Everyday I start my class by having a check in. Everyone who wants to contribute can, but it is not a requirement. We talk about our evening and what we did. Quickly I learn who my dancers, soccer players, rodeo cowboys and hockey players are. I ask about their games, I find out when they are at home and I go. I love to watch the reaction (coaches might not be impressed) when I walk in. The kids notice me and then a ripple runs through the bench/ice…”Mrs. Watt is here, Mrs. Watt is here.” The braver ones will wave at me from the ice. I cheer very loudly for them. While I love sports, I do not love gaming. However, I learn about gaming, because my students like to do that.
Eye contact, getting down on their level and voice modulation I believe are all important. I am very cognizant of maintaining dignity in my classroom. I treat my students the way I would like to be treated. I light up, I get down to their level. And if there is something I need to tell them that maybe the rest of the class doesn’t need to hear I am very careful how I handle it. I worked as an Educational Assistant before I became a teacher. One day I was asked by the grade 9 Math teacher to pull a student to work with him. As we walked across the room he slowly strutted behind me and said to the room, “I’m going to the dumb room.” I was sick. I felt awful. I had to come up with a better way of managing situations like this. From that point on, if I had to pull a student I would catch them in the hallway and quietly ask them to meet me in a specific room/place. This way they would not have to
be pulled in front of all their classmates. Aside: to Shelley Moore and followers, this was in the early 2000s so now I know better and I do better - well I am learning to do better with inclusion.
Food! I love this. It always reminds me of the scene in Monsters Inc. when Mike is throwing cheerios at Boo, so funny! One of the children I own can be hypoglycemic. As a child I was always offering her food when she cried. I was secretly hoping I was not creating an eating disorder, we are good she is 18 now and no eating disorder. I did not know that we cannot flip our lids while eating/drinking. I will definitely be offering children drinks for sure. One statement Dr. Jody made I did not know, she said if you cannot produce language you cannot process language. If the child has flipped their lid and they are to the stage of just making guttural sounds telling them to, “just use your words” is not going to help - offer the water or get the juice (don't’ die on the juice hill) and wait for the sigh - when you hear the sigh you have them back.
Staying present can be hard. When my own children were little I would tell them when I wasn't in a good mood or feeling well. While I am the adult and I know I should be able to stay regulated, we all have an off day and that is ok. But I feel that the children we are in charge of deserve to know if we are not on our game. Late this winter I was getting sick during the school day, I felt it come on just before first recess and I went downhill from there. I told my students after lunch that I wasn’t feeling good, but I would do my best for them. Later, after being home for three sick days, I read a note that a student had left me. He said, “Mrs. Watt, thank you for being kind to us even when you didn’t feel good.” #ImNotCryingYouAreCrying
That's my view from the 86th Pew,