I have been swamped with my professional development and kicking off a new year but I have to take some time to reflect. Overall, the first two weeks of school went well. Lots of professional development the first week. Lots of home visits and parent contact the second week.
Those home visits were so important. Getting to meet about 12 out of 16 of my 3 year-old students before they set foot in my room was so critical to this first three days of school. By meeting each kid with their parent it gave me a chance to connect with the kid but more importantly, it gave me a chance to build trust with their parents. I had less tears this year than I have in the past. We actually got some teaching done the first day. I think that teaching stemmed from what teachers do that is invisible but crucial to success. When a child sees a parent that isn’t worried about the first day it makes them less worried. When we already had a good time hanging out talking about spider man and remote control cars in their living room it creates an invisible force field around me and my student. They feel safe because we have shared the common space of their home; the place where they are most themselves. This to me, the connection between the parent, the child, and the teacher is one of the invisible ways we make a classroom student driven and really transform teaching into the profession students deserve. The more we stop trying to make everything that is our profession visible (and countable) the more we will be able to see the actions that create invisible importance in our students’ lives. Even by just responding to a student who keeps slapping your buttons to get you to lose your cool with a look that says, “I see you ____ but, I’m not going to respond the way you want because I care.” Can help make an invisible difference that matters.
Speaking of which, the student I described in the Learning Matters blog post is in the class next door to me this year. He makes sure to check in each morning and afternoon to tell he’s been good. What really struck me though is his mom is trying to obtain her GED. She asked me if I could help her pass her math test. She is really struggling with it. I told her if she gave me a week or two we could talk during nap time and I knew she could pass it. Then she said, “You really worked with Daniel. He is doing so much better than last year. He really came a long way. Thank you.”
That interaction is what matters to me. Thank goodness it isn’t counted in my new performance evaluation. I wouldn’t want it to mean less by becoming visible.