More Than A Feeling

Arne Duncan our federal Secretary of Education has disappointed with the lack of implementation of the ideology he contends to support.  Despite this, I really connected with the following quote:“The center of a classroom is not a test, a textbook, or the posters on the wall. It’s not a state or district policy, and it most certainly is not a federal law.  The heart of the classroom is found in the unique relationships between students and teachers. In the same way that a family turns a house into a home, a physical and emotional transformation takes place when teachers and students work together in community to reach common goals. We see it in the trust, the expectations, the experiences and the knowledge of every person in the class.”  Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education,  in a letter for the July, 2011 Virtual ConferenceThose of us who have been successful as teachers know the above to be true.  While it is nice that it is officially acknowledged verbally, until the perspective is used to formulate policy, there is little value to the statement.  Teachers’ relationships with students mean everything.  It affects student attitude, student motivation and student engagement.  How often have I been offered guidelines or insight as to how to use this fact to facilitate good instruction?   NEVER!  So it comes down to you have it or you don’t.  Mastery of the innuendos of  productive student/teacher relationships are not fostered.  Academia spends much time and money exploring what traits a “good” teacher has.  These skills are teachable but ignored.  Priority is given to restraint training and how to deal with safe handling of blood.  Metaphorically, many of our students are bleeding,  We have a chance to reach them.  Ensure that all teachers are trained in the how and why teacher/student relationships are the keystone to student success.

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