I received my daily email from a blog I subscribe to where George Couros is a contributing blogger for. In it, he talks about taking care of your people. The first quote you see is: “You’ve got to love your people more than your position.”
This particular blog is for principals and those in leadership positions and I am definitely not one of those but I like the thoughts that are shared. However this post made me keep thinking about my students.
I teach six classes each day. Usually, all of them are energetic, positive, excited to practice and learn and are just overall amazing. Today, one of the groups just didn’t seem the same. On Monday, they were tired, which can be expected since it was after a weekend and it was after spring break. However, they were tired again yesterday. Not so they didn’t work well and learn much, just not with the same enthusiasm. Today, almost seemed worse. I finally commented to them about it. I was trying to answer a student’s question about our starter and all the students just looked at me like I was that teacher from Ferris Bueller. UGH, I could not handle that!
So I said, “What’s going on? You are usually so energetic and talkative. I feel like I am standing here trying to drag it out of you. What’s up?”
You know what their response was? “Our class is right before lunch and I’m just hungry.”
It killed me. I told them to think how I felt…I had to teach another class before I got to eat! All I heard was more groans. That seemed to make them more concerned because they realized I had third lunch and they said they definitely couldn’t make it that far. They felt sorry for me.
So what to do? How do I take care of them so they can refocus? I mean, I know I can’t afford to feed 40 some students on my own. I could let them have a snack they provide, but we had to have a rule about no food and gum because students were leaving such huge messes or putting the gum under the brand new concert chairs and eating while trying to sing is not only gross to watch it inhibits the ability to sing. Water bottles are allowed AND encouraged but students don’t like to carry them around for a number of reasons. Although, having their own water bottle could definitely help, I haven’t decided what to do since this may be a bigger issue than I realize. For today, I got them up and moving more than I usually do to see if we could get their minds to waken up. It worked, at least long enough to last the class. They worked well. We got some things figured out and we are making progress.
Although we have concert to prepare for and this class typically needs more time to process everything, the students are more important. It will be hard if we have to stop to do something else, but we will just have to see what happens tomorrow.
UPDATE 4/20/17: Today was wonderful! I think some of the girls prepped a bit more today knowing I cared about them (at least I think so). A couple were still tired (one said she hadn’t been sleeping well) but still did their best. I am so proud of those girls for trying. I have decided that I am still going to keep a closer eye on them to make sure they are getting their basic needs met just to be sure.