Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Bank is Open

Summer is over and the school year is here. What better time than now to focus on what's really important in school. Content? Nope. Test scores? Nope. There is a myth in our society that it's all about the test scores and it's all about data. Sure that stuff is important, but it's still just stuff. Can a test measure self-esteem? Can it measure engagement? Can it measure a love for learning? Can a test show a down and out, frustrated teenager who's entire disposition changes because a teacher took the time to care about him? Can a test show that? What is more important to a kid-being cared for or learning about the Battle of Little Big Horn?  We are marching right into the heart of a group of kids who need us. They need us to be at our best. We can not go into this without being equipped with some strategies. For me, my strategy, or perhaps a way of thinking, is to treat kids like Bank Accounts. What do you do at a bank? You make deposits and you make withdrawals. With kids, we do the exact same thing, but perhaps we just don't recognize it.  Let me explain. What are you doing when you walk up to a kid and ask them the most simple question in the world, "How are you doing?" You are making a deposit. You are making a deposit into that relationship. With that one simple question, you are showing that kid you care about them. How about this, "Ya know, Billy, you've been working really hard lately." Yep, another deposit. "So, what do you have going on this weekend?" You got it-deposit #3 and this relationship is growing, just like a bank account. So now I have three deposits into this relationship so when I have to tell Billy to sit down, or pay attention, or get his homework turned it, it's okay because even though I am making a withdrawal, I have already made 3 deposits so everything is cool. When we run into trouble is when we are constantly making withdrawals. "Why is your homework late again?" "Why can't you just be quiet?" "Can you please just sit down!" Those are all withdrawals and if we are only withdrawing from the relationship, we will come up empty. If the only time we ever talk to kids is to ask them why their homework is not done, what will the account of that relationships look like? We will come up empty and fail. I shingle houses everyday during the summer. It's tough work and my paychecks are hard earned. Then I go to Scheels and buy some new shoes. What's easier? Shingling all day to make a deposit in my bank account, or swiping my check card at the cash register? It's obvious but a point I think is important to keep in mind. It is so much easier to make a withdrawal than it is to make deposits. Deposits need to be earned. It takes effort and hard work to build them up, but you can spend it so easily and wipe out your entire account in a blink.
Focus on making deposits. The Bank is open.

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