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becoming a school ‘regular’

10 Sep

everyone in my age demographic remembers what happened when Norm walked into the bar on cheers, is there any warmer reception than everyone stopping down and welcoming you my shouting your name? the idea of being a ‘regular’ appeals to lots of people. i’ve been to restaurants with people who pride themselves on knowing their servers or the folks behind the counter, and while some might see this as more or less vanity (admission: sometimes i do) people enjoy it. i believe it all comes down to the idea that people like the idea of belonging; people like the feeling they get from being recognized and, in some ways, valued as a member of a group/tribe/community/etc. can we capture that feeling in our classrooms? there are kids who have perfect attendance, but never become a regular. there are kids who never skip class but never attain the status of ‘regular’. in order to be an integral part of a system or at least a semi-regular contributor, you need to bring something beyond your mere presence. as a teacher there were days when you knew some kids were missing because the class functioned differently (note: sometimes this was a good thing, but i digress).
our challenge is to help students to become a ‘regular’ in your classroom. not only should all students be an integral part of your classroom, but they should be cognizant of that fact. we won’t all stop down and yell their name when they enter (although that would be pretty cool), but there are other ways to validate the contributions that students make to the overall learning experience. working in PD i see a major roadblock as being the idea that some teachers hold – school is a curriculum to get through, not a set of experience that students get to have. try and power through a curriculum with no regard for the affective needs of the students in your classroom and not only will they not feel like a ‘regular’ but there is a good change you won’t be one very long either.

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2 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2010 in venturing out of the cube

 

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2 responses to “becoming a school ‘regular’

  1. Sue Densmore

    September 10, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Dan –

    So funny you’re thinking about this – I was just watching my marching band at practice the other night thinking about the same idea. With the band, we spend so much time together, and there is enough unstructured time, that it is easy to build that community and sense of belonging. It is way harder in my other classes, where we don’t spend off hours together, and which only meet three out of seven school days in our schedule.

    Still, I’d like everyone to feel like a regular, and am trying to make sure I build connections with all of my students like I have with my bandos.

    Sue

     
  2. texasbuckeye

    September 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Sue – great point about the marching band. It is almost as if they are in step with each other because they want to be. Someone has helped them to focus on a common purpose and it’s not a test :). Thanks for the comment.

     

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