Lockett Learning Systems

Lockett Learning Systems

Monday, October 31, 2016

High Expectations Getting You Down? Work the Circle!

We all say we believe in high expectations, but sometimes the challenges of the classroom cause us to re-think what we mean by "high."

Don't Re-think.  Re-work!  Learn to "Work the Circle!"

When students are not achieving in the classroom at a level of content mastery, there is a reason.  Reasons are myriad, but they all fall into one of four categories:  Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, or Spiritual.

Physical causes of underachievement include problems with vision, blood sugar, allergies, hearing...the list goes on.  If it affects our bodies, it affects our performance.

Emotional causes of underachievement include our home environment, our relationships, our feelings of safety...the list goes on.  If it affects our hearts, it affects our performance.

Intellectual causes of underachievement include need for study skills, coaching, more information...the list goes on.  This is usually where we educators look.  If it affects our mind, it affects our performance.

Spiritual causes of underachievement include our dreams, goals, and values.  Everyone isn't religious (although that is spiritual), but everyone has dreams, goals, and values.  If we compromise our inner self, it affects our performance. 

Every intervention we make that is outside of "root cause" is a band-aid.  Band-aids are good; band-aids are necessary; band-aids help us heal quicker...but band-aids are not enough!

So..."Work the Circle!"  Try an intervention that is physical, then emotional, then intellectual, then spiritual...and do it again.  Do it until the student reaches content mastery.  Then get our of their way!  They have wings, and they love to fly!

Years ago, we taught teachers the "dragnet" style of teaching:  "Mind and body."  "Just the facts, Ma'am."  We now know, based on brain research, that we cannot teach half a child.  In fact, we believe that minimal learning occurs outside the realm of the emotional and spiritual.  We are charged with the task of infusing these elements into the classroom without violating a child.

We educators have a wonderful profession.  We are charged with molding the minds and hearts of the next generation.  Be brave!

Need help?  Contact us!  Lockett Learning Systems

Monday, October 3, 2016

Conquer the Crazy Time. (It's All Crazy!)

Have you noticed that...

Things start to get a little crazy on campus as we approach Halloween?...
Things on campus stay a little crazy until Christmas break...
Things get a little crazy on campus during football or basketball season...
Then there’s the time leading up to Prom night...
And, of course, every campus is blessed with “senioritis,” (and "junioritis" and "sophomoreitis" and "teacheritis!"). 

I tell my tutors that if they aren’t having problems, I won’t believe they are actually working with children.  Both the beauty and the frustration of teaching is that, at the same time, it can be both structured and unpredictable.  Teaching can’t be programmed in a neat little package.  Schools that endeavor to put children in a “learning box” and ask all teachers to do things the same way are destined to failure.  Teachers in these settings lose their creativity and passion.

So...leading up to the holiday season, here are four guidelines for what to do when you observe a student’s behavior that causes you to wonder what is going on in their lives:
  1.  Talk About It I often thought, as I read student essays, “S/he must not have wanted me to read that.”  I now know those students are actually begging someone to be brave enough to ask questions.  It is their cry for help.  I always feel inadequate and overwhelmed when I think of delving into another’s life crisis; but when I jump in, I also always find a strength or resource I didn’t know I had.
  2. Talk It Over With a Supervisor.  You never violate confidentiality when you discuss a concern with a supervisor in an effort to determine your course of action.  One teacher I know suspected child abuse and started to talk to her principal.  The principal said, “Stop.  If you tell me what I think you will, you need to know that I will report it, and that child will be taken from his home.  You will go with me to court to make that happen.”  She said, “I don’t believe children should be separated from their parents so I won’t tell you.”  Within the next week, that child was badly bruised from physical abuse.  When she saw that, she found within her the strength to do what had to be done.  When abuse and dysfunction are involved, pretending you don’t see the signs doesn’t make them go away.  Most of our children don’t need help this drastically; but when they do, we are mandated reporters and we must act. 
  3. “Carefront.”  This is the process of student confrontation we use in SCORE.  From research, we learn that the “unwilling/unable” student needs you to “shoot straight.”  They also need you to care.  Don’t talk around the issue; tell the student what you see.  As you talk, write it down so they can both see and hear it.  Talk in three columns:  Before, Now, and Now Then....  “Now Then” is their commitment with you for an acceptable compromise as they work through their current crisis.  Offer to help them through their circumstance (tutorials, grief counseling, twelve steps, etc.), and give them referrals to other sources of help.
  4. Remember Love.  It’s strange that we teachers who have devoted our lives to molding the lives of another generation don’t often talk about loving our students.  I had to learn it in therapy, not in my education classes.  In the aftermath of a time of loss in my life, the therapist said, “You need someone to love...to invest in.  Who do you love?”  I responded, “My son.”  He replied, “Yes, and you’re smothering the poor child.  Love your students!”  I did, and my teaching will never be the same!

    We have a motto in SCORE:  "Every child deserves a pushy parent.  If they don't have one, you're it!