This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.
Blame all you want, but only 2 of your 5 fingers are NOT pointing at you
I am going to write about accountability today. This is a highly unpopular term and the hair will stand up on end and the claws will come out to play, but I stand firm in my insistence on bringing this up. You can blame all you want, but always remember that only two of the fingers are pointing away while 3 are pointing directly at you.
I am not a fan of self-abuse. Beating oneself up for not being adequate, or good enough or not stellar enough is a game of self-defeat. I am also not a fan of jumping to the orders of outsiders who assert their authority over our minds and physical movement. I AM a fan of accountability of self. That means ALL parties must always be consciously aware of their own contributions to the scenario.
This means that you can say that the reason the students don’t perform well is because of poverty, malnutrition, abuse, or behavioral condition. You can find a myriad of ways to excuse behavior, performance or effort. What it all boils down to at the end of the day was how did you respond to it? You can’t control the external factors of ANYTHING in the world. Absolutely nothing. So what can you do? You can be CONSCIOUS all day, every day, about every single thought and action that you offer the world. Your conscious awareness of self DOES ripple out and affect every single person you come into contact with.
Your students will be calmer. They may test your reaction to be sure that you mean it, but if you are calm and conscious in your response to a scenario, they will feel it. It has a certain human resonation that all people can relate to. Conscious words mean more than loaded lectures and highly planned corrective measures. Reactionary punishments are the exact opposite of conscious response. That is why behavior never improves. That is why resentments build. That is when more dangerous behavior is bred.
Learn to be acutely self-aware of every emotional reaction you have, of your inner-dialogue, and of what comes out of you. Then decide if that is really what you wish to contribute to the world. You don’t need advice. You’ll know. It won’t feel good. It will feel pretty awful. What you need to decide is how to reprogram your own inner dialogue so that what comes out of you IS conscious. That one step will redefine every professional and personal relationship in your life. You can do the same with words that are spoken to you. If they don’t feel right when you hear them, feel them out. Find out why you reacted the way you did. Get to the bottom of it. It isn’t about the other person. Your reaction is YOURS. The same is true of your students. If you want to see a difference in student achievement, start with yourself. Be that example. They will grow magnificently in your example.
Shella is the founder of Zelenz Education Consulting. She is a 17 year veteran teacher who has chosen to create an option for teachers, parents and students to ensure their highest and best outcomes are achieved and respected by honoring what works best for them rather than what they are told is best for them. More can be learned about her team at http://zelenz.com