Feeling Connected?

Oct 9, 2016

Community matters. Its true. We all have a need to belong. When we are part of a group, we are afforded both common rituals and a sense of connectedness. Beyond an education, this is what a classroom or school community can offer youth – and group affiliation can go a long way in strengthening positive behavior.

I felt the impact of community firsthand as my wife and I rounded out my 50th birthday celebration this weekend in Cape May, New Jersey. I had a quick blink-of-an-eye presentation in the area last year and loved the group, but I was unaware of the true local color and flavor of the community until our extended stay this time. We experienced amazing people [educators referencing their own Wawa language], places [eat breakfast at Georges] and events [Who knew Cape May hosted an annual Lima Bean Festival?]. The climate was very positive, as evidenced by the behavior of the citizens. Despite the rainy weather, everyone was cheery, optimistic and accommodating. This, of course, is why community matters.

When we connect with others we strengthen social skills, which are critical to healthy functioning. Unfortunately, in todays technology-filled society, we all seem to be making less overall personal connections. This means educators have to make stronger, more concerted efforts affording youth ways to connect with others in the school setting. Be it through class meetings, morning advisories, or unstructured play, students need time to practice forming healthy relationships with others.

Thank you, Cape May, New Jersey. You have restored my faith in communities. Ill look forward to hopefully heading back your way at some point in the future. Dont worry youll recognize my wife and me in our matching t-shirts.

lima-beans

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...

Positive Collective Memories

As we move into the final months of the school year, now is a great time for educators to celebrate successes.  However, the problem with trying to do so is that we don’t always see the results of our labor right away.  Oftentimes our efforts are laying a foundation...