Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Real. Responsive. Relationships.

We've all seen the inspirational, pinterest-y signs with sayings like this...

What's not mentioned is that we don't get to choose when these students cross our path. We don't get to wait for that moment when we are fresh and filled with inspiration and then hit them with full force Pinterest-like responses.

No, it's likely to be in a moment where you are near empty that this chid crosses your path. Your stomach is empty, your brain is empty, and your energy tank is empty. (Your bladder will likely be the only full thing when you cross paths with this little bundle of opportunity.)

Where's the inspiration in that? 
The inspiration is in what could be.

Be real. Be present. A sincere hello. 
Calling someone by name is still the number one way to make a person feel valued.

When you get the chance to respond -- be ready. 
The window of building trust with these students can be so limited.

As soon as trust has been established, the social gaps will be starting us down. We will see what  is lacking -- causing relationship to be so important. We then take on the most important role we play. That of a role model in a relationship. We don't have to be a perfect role model. We have to be a real one. One that recognizes our weaknesses and shares our hopes and strategies for improvement.

I'm working on some plans for teaching social skills with students in many different grade levels. Being responsive means responding with goals. Starting small but knowing where to go next.

The need is obvious to start with greetings and introductions, but then we need to move to asserting feelings and initiating interactions. I want to help a student form real interactions that can someday lead to rich and meaningful relationships.

I'm going to need a plan and I'm working on that.

How about you? Do you have plans that have worked? Do you need a plan?