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Building Relationships: Practical Ideas to Implement in the Classroom

It all goes back to relationships!
Relationships are the essential element in our schools. The old adage, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is true especially in today’s society when kids are used to so much choice in their world. Also, in today’s busy world, it’s important for teachers and school staff to make positive connections with students. We must be intentional and taking time with these relationships must be purposeful.

Members of the Compelled Tribe have teamed up to share practical ways for educators to build relationships with students. As connected educators we also embrace the notion that it is the power of the team that drives much of what we do. How do you build relationships with those that you serve? See the list below for ideas to add to what you may be already doing in the buildings and districts in which you work. (I am selecting some to add to my practice. You'll see them in blue below.)

Greet students at the door. Smile and …
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Rest, Refresh, Recharge, Reach Out!

Spring break is here: 5 days to rest, refresh, recharge. How will I spend it?
I'm "hungry" to read, and I'm going to indulge on some new books and reunite with some old friends:

Amazon: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (there's no denying it, I'm a Dickens fan!) *this one is on my iPadAmazon: A Prisoner and Yet, Corrie Ten Boom (survivor of World War II prison camps) Amazon: Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle (I can't wait to read his story!) Amazon: An Honest Look at a Mysterious Journey, John & Joanna Stumbo (overcoming tragedy) Amazon: Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning, Charles Schwahn & Beatrice McGarvey (individualized/personalized learning) 
My husband and I will probably spend some time outside cleaning up the yard. It will be enjoyable to work in the fresh air.
I'll celebrate Easter with my church family, and Easter dinner with my in-laws. I am already looking forward to refocusing my perspective on Sunday.
On Monday I'll spe…

Let Go of the Results

Teaching is daily investment in dozens, even hundreds of lives. 
Our investment in our students does not guarantee 100% returns. 

Our offers of kindness are spurned, or mocked.We give: time, help, supplies, kindness. Instead of gratitude, it's taken for granted, and we are expected to give more and more and more.We provide an opportunity to redo past failures, but they let us down again.All our "blood, sweat and tears" come to nothing when a student moves, quits school, or goes to jail.

What do you do when your hopes are dashed? Some will turn cynical. They will quit investing in lives, quit caring, quit believing. It's easy to understand; you've been burned too many times.

Some will torment themselves with guilt, thinking, "I should have...". That is easy to understand, too. Their failures become our failures when we invest ourselves in them.
Is there another option?Yes!Continue to give. Continue to believe. Continue to offer hope, love, grace, second, thi…

I Won't Give Up, Will You?

During the first week of school two years ago I overheard this comment: "My sister says that if she (referring to me) gives me any ****, she will come in and **** her!" If those "terms of endearment" were any indication, I was in for an interesting year!
Relationships require forgiveness.
"Sarah" came to class each day defiant. She swore at the drop of a hat, pushed for her own way, antagonized her classmates, and kept us from any moments of peace. But Sarah wasn't alone. She had several accomplices, students who were determined to disrupt, cause chaos, and demonstrate their independence and self-importance.

Each day was a challenge. Several times I deflected fights, and once had to have assistance for other teachers when Sarah and two other girls shouted obscenities and threats at one another.

All my attempts failed, at least with Sarah and company.

Relationships require patience.
One of my best assets in the classroom is patience. I believe that I am…

I choose Integrity!

Here I stand before the open door...2017 is beckoning me forward.
How will I live in this new year? 

I choose INTEGRITY.
Google defines integrity as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness".

Every day I am faced with choices to make. Some choices are easy and cost little; others come with a greater cost. Do I really believe what I say I believe, or is it something to be discarded when it becomes inconvenient? Fully aware of the cost, I choose INTEGRITY.

C.S. Lewis fleshes out the definition: "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching".


Both public and private choices carry weight, and all carry consequences. A careless word can pierce a heart. Inaction can cause grievous consequences for someone in an untenable situation. Selfish choices can wound a relationship or destroy a trust. Fully aware of the consequences, I choose INTEGRITY.

Tony Dungy: "Integrity. The choice between what's convenient an…