We all have those days where meetings run late and you went right to the schoolyard to pick up your students and perhaps you didn’t quite get the agenda on the board. Maybe the projector isn’t turned on, the homework isn’t up on the board and yet the students are still coming in at 9am whether you are ready or not.
My approach to those days - be honest. Earlier this month this exact same scenario and all I could hear for the first minute or so was “Ms. Mac, where’s the homework?” “Ms. Mac, what are we doing today?” “Ms. Mac, I don’t know what books I need today without the agenda!” So I did the only thing I knew to do. I told the class to sit down on the floor and I explained the situation.
“My meeting ran late so I didn’t have time to do x,y,z. It’s not the way I wanted to start the morning and I know things are a little less organized than we usually have them. We’re going to have to work on this together this morning and get things figured out. Have you ever had one of those mornings?”
Of course, they have! Everyone has. So we brainstormed what we needed to do, divided tasks and then got to work. There was no point in hiding the fact that the day was not off to its usual start. We all need to know how to get through the bumps and doing it together seems to be a better route in my mind.
I believe that when you are honest with your students they actually respect you more. When situations happen, we have to learn to deal with them and be flexible. There is no point hiding that the morning was off to a wonky start. There was no point pretending the day was something that it wasn’t.
The thing we sometimes forget is that a community exists best when they work together, support each other and trust each other. Some may say I’m too honest with my students but I share stories that happen me, pictures of my family, I talk to them about times I’ve experienced similar things to them and when something happens I can’t control, they know about it. Our students need to know we understand their perspective and they need to know the perspective we are coming from. If you are honest, you show who you are as a person to your students. I figure if I want them to do the same, I should be the one to take the step first. Once you start building trust, you build rapport and create an environment that feels safe for your students. Who doesn’t want that for them?