Thursday, September 22, 2016

Annals of Fall: Goals

I'm goal-oriented (to a fault?) anyway, but it's the official goal-setting time at work. I've got a meeting today with the bosses to discuss what I plan to accomplish this year. I've got some personal goals like, "Stop Being Such a Sloth and Exercise Once in Awhile," and "Continue to Explore Natural Remedies for My Unsightly Skin Disorder." 

Somehow I don't think they'll want to discuss these.

Instead, I plan to talk about improving my one-to-one and small-group student conferencing skills.  Good news: I feel like I've already started to do this, AND I have some nice little record-keeping systems in place to keep track of what the heck I say in these impromptu convos. 

I'm thinking the plan might be to carry around a little sheet of paper on my clipboard with good conference language suggestions. I did this with community-building language, and it worked really well. Now, I just say the good stuff naturally.  

Obviously, I'm all for the cheat sheet. Just take a pause, look at your clipboard, and decide what to say next to foster a collaborative and respectful relationship with your students. When they noticed it, I just told the kids I'd read a great book about running better discussions, and I'd made notes for myself until I learned the tips by heart. 

Most of us know that language is really important, but some in the field may need extra help. For instance, I read an article about a teacher who got suspended for saying some not-so-nice things to her kids.  As an example, she told one, "Why don't you lick me where I fart?" What?! Who even says that? Also, she greeted another one by saying, "You look like a frumpy old lady." This is not how I speak to my students. Geez. Generally, I smile at the kids and tell them how happy I am to see them. I never tell them I don't like their clothes. Let's start there.

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