Ask any educator why they do what they do, and they’ll most likely respond ‘for the children’ without missing a beat. It’s why I was a teacher and why a lot of my friends were teachers. It’s the impact we can have on the children in our care that motivates us, drives us, and is the foundation of our passion.
I can look back and for every single class I taught, I can rattle off the names of the children who I had a super strong relationship with, and those that were on the other extreme–a relationship that was weak, or fragmented.
These days, I often find myself thinking about my time in the classroom. And, my mind will always wonder about the children I didn’t connect deeply with - for the myriad of reasons. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel guilty for not doing more, because I know there were factors that contributed to our poor relationship, and factors that put them at a disadvantage for later in life, or if it’s just my innate care and curiosity of where they are now and how they are doing.
Whatever the reason, I find myself now wishing I could turn back time and go back to those classrooms, and work even harder and fight even stronger to build those relationships because I know now from research how critical that relationship is to their long-term success. And, I now know that there are research-based tools and strategies that could have made it much easier.
Banking Time: Investing in Relationships is one such tool. This evidence-based strategy guides educators in planning short, yet intentional, opportunities to engage with a child one-on-one to foster trust and nurture the relationships.
With the newest Teachstone offering, Banking Time: Investing in Relationships, participants engage in an facilitated or online training course, get access to a video library showing the strategies in action, in real classrooms, and receive the comprehensive teacher manual, resources, and planning calendar to make nurturing stronger, more equitable relationships, easier than ever before.
In my second year of teaching, there was one child in my first grade classroom who from the very start I struggled to form a relationship. She was always off-task, interrupting others, choosing to read over doing work, and didn’t seem aware of how her actions influenced other children and even myself. I spoke to the teacher she had the year before. This teacher had a completely different perspective. She found her to be a great student, personable, and overall enjoyable to have in class. How could we be talking about the same child I wondered.
I decided to shift my perspective. I started to view her behaviors from a different lens. Interrupting others shifted to she’s so excited to share her own thoughts on this topic. Choosing to read over doing work shifted to she must be a great part of the book. Being off task shifted to she must not find this experience fun or engaging. I worked with her parents to establish a system of accountability to encourage her to complete her classwork. I intentionally made every effort to find her actions endearing rather than frustrating.
And, shortly after these shifts she started to choose to eat her snack at my table. We talked about the most random things. She’d tell me about her weekends in great detail, ask me about my favorite foods, and explain why in her opinion legos were the best toy.
These little opportunities added up to great results. She quickly became more motivated to listen and follow directions, to complete her coursework, and began to seek out opportunities to be helpful around the classroom.
And, I found myself beginning to see her in a whole new light. I began to look forward to our daily snack talks, she was often the key character in the highlight of my day, and by the end of the year she was one of the children that I had the strongest relationship with.
Looking back now, I’m proud of the effort I put in to salvage our relationship. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of trial and error, and patience, to find the right cadence and sequence of events to strengthen the relationship and uncover the motivations that would drive us both to success.
If I had the tools provided with Banking Time: Investing in Relationships I can only imagine how much quicker we could have formed a meaningful relationship, how many more children I could have connected with on a deeper level, and how much greater the outcomes would have been, for the children and myself.
A Profound, Endless Impact
Imagine the impact if every child, in every classroom, across every year felt welcomed, respected, and had positive relationships with their teachers. Imagine how that child views learning, imagine how that child views him/herself, and imagine how that transforms the trajectory of the child’s life as a result.
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We know that one of the most important factors in children and adolescents' success in school is the quality of their teachers—and specifically the effectiveness of the daily interactions that support students' social and academic learning. Today more than ever, teachers need time to learn and reflect on their own professional practice.
But too often professional learning experiences are ‘sit and get’ presentations and disconnected from teachers' daily practice. And many research based professional learning programs have failed to demonstrate impact at large scale because they are often highly resource intensive and do not fit well into schools professional learning plans.
Teachstone recently hosted the Do Learning Environments Make a Big Difference? webinar with Sara Schodt, Impact Program Manager at Teachstone, and Ross Harold, Senior Director of the Early Childhood Assessment and Early Childhood Health Office at the New York City Department of Education.
Our hosts shared how Teachstone’s CLASS Environment™ can be used as a means of supporting meaningful teacher-child interactions, which are strong predictors of future learning and development.
IIn our recent webinar, Making the Move to CLASS® 2nd Edition, we shared how programs and individuals can begin to experience and use the enhanced Pre-K–3rd CLASS tool. Certified CLASS observers play a critical role in helping every child reach their full potential.
Without reliable and valid data on the quality of educator-child interactions, programs and educators would not have the actionable insights they need to make continuous quality improvements in the areas that matter the most for children.
Last month we hosted a webinar, A Closer Look at CLASS 2nd Edition. And, we were blown away from the responses and excitement to the enhancements. As with any big news, there were also questions. We’re tackling your top asked questions below, and look forward to continuing sharing more updates and insights around CLASS 2nd Edition in the coming weeks.