I just finished a two hour training on AVID's Tutorology.
Tutorology is a student-led way for students to recognize what confuses them about a topic or problem and for their classmates to help them understand whatever it is they are confused about. It is a great method to incorporate in the classroom for homework, test study, extensions, or whatever you can think of. It can be manipulated for use however you see fit, which I love. (Check out some great Tutorology resources here.)
During the training session (it was just for our math department) we started to discuss dilemmas with students turning in homework. We all know homework can be important in the math classroom, but sometimes students just don't do it. That's frustrating. We were all a little frustrated (and exhausted).
Our facilitator was wonderful, though. She had worked in our school system and could relate easily to everything we were talking about. She stopped our conversation and talked with us about our outlooks. She reminded us how easy it is to see the negatives in students, classrooms, schools, people, everything. What makes the difference is how we view those things.
From just two years in the classroom, I could go on for hours comparing days when I came in with a bad attitude and days when I searched for the positives. It makes a world of a difference. We all know that. Sometimes, we just have to be reminded.
Life is good.
Teaching is wonderful.
My students are amazing.
My school is determined.
It is all about perception.
So, I've made a list of things I need to start doing, do more, or do again:
2. I have GOT to give more verbal praise. It is way too easy to nag and nag about everything students do incorrectly. They do so many things correctly, and they should know that I notice.
3. Make more positive phone calls. I call home a lot. I send weekly e-mails to tell the parents to let them know what we're doing in class that week. Why don't I call or e-mail just to say, "Your student is great!"
4. Give more compliments. Teachers, students and administrators are doing amazing things at my school everyday. Every single one of them should be recognized.
5. Come to work smiling and leave work smiling. "I like smiling. Smiling is my favorite."
6. Remind myself that I was meant to be teaching. I was made to be in these students' lives. Whether they like it or not, I'm going to help them, teach them and love them.
Guess what people...life is too short and it could be worse. Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah. But really, my glass is half full. Is yours?