Monday, July 3, 2017

Track 6: Help!/Man in the Mirror

I am blessed with two wonderful children.  Each has his/her own talents and challenges.  I love watching my children grow and discover new passions.  My son, however, has some challenges that require more attention.  He was recently diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum.  At first, I was both confused and crushed.  I thought, How can my son have a normal life?  There are times when I am so frustrated at trying to explain concepts or expectations that I have to walk away and re-strategize.  One day I was trying to explain a joke to him and I realized that he does not truly understand the context or meaning behind jokes.  I could see him struggling trying to fit in and I realized that I need to be a better dad and a teacher.  I needed help!  I am not afraid nor embarrassed to say that I sought out coaching and professional help.  Likewise, as educators, we can all use Help!

It's a tough profession if it we go it alone.  That's why the summer is such a great time for educators. Not only do we get to recharge our batteries, we get to reflect and learn.  I know there are many great professional development opportunities, but I would like to encourage my fellow educators to consider the simple act of reflection.  I love the video of two people stuck on an escalator and needing help.  Sometimes, the answer is as easy as walking.  We get paralyzed with inaction and don't have plans for when things might go wrong.  So, when it comes to students, we must learn sometimes we just need to simply walk with them instead of making them go alone.  By reflecting on our practices, we can think about better ways to address possible challenges.  As my old boss loved to say:  If you can predict it, you can prevent it.

As a mixtape artist, we always realize that each song has a special meaning to it.  In the case of my son, I realize that he is own special limited LP.  Many times, we come to find that our own students are struggling with issues that we may or may not know.  As is the case with my son, I have to always ask myself, How can I be more pro-active and impactful for what my son needs?  Every act a student does is about an opportunity for education.  When they act out, let's approach students from the mindset that they are in actuality seeking help.  Being a child of the 80s, my favorite artist of all time is Michael Jackson.  His music means everything to me.  My daughter recently became a convert (actually, I made her listen).  She loves all his songs, but when she listens to Man in the Mirror, she absolutely gets lost in the message.  She explained it to me so simply, Isn't this just about people being better?  My question for you is this:  When you reflect on the past school year, how could you have shown up better for your students?  In other words, How are students better because of what you do?

Have a great summer and make that vacation soundtrack memorable.

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