Friday, December 3, 2010

E is for Empathy

Today, I challenge you: Listen to a student. 

Really listen.  And do it someplace other than your classroom.  Poke your head into the health office.  Sit with a student on the bench in the hallway.  Go to the lunch room. And listen to things other than words.

What will happen?  You'll form a connection with that student.  Just a couple minutes and you'll impact that student forever.  That student will know that you care, you listen, they can talk to you, you aren't just another teacher, you put in the extra effort and so much more that you can't even imagine.

The other day, I saw one of my students with fists balled up, tears streaming down her face and walking away from a classroom without bending her knees.  She was angry.  I walked with her, not saying anything.  I checked in with her after class, just for a few seconds.  I just asked if she was okay and told her that I didn't want her to get suspended.    She shook her head each time.  After school, before she got on her bus, I shook her hand and told her that I was proud of her for making it through the day.  She smiled and went home.

I doubt that I was the reason she didn't get into a fight.  She's pretty bright and cares about being in school.  I do believe that what I did help in some way.

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