As you begin your summer journey to recharge and revitalize, we've got 3 easy steps for you to contemplate to begin building an equity resilient classroom for next year.
This is a 5 part series. Part I covers the basics. Read through it & let your subconscious mull it over the next couple months. When August rolls around, you'll find it easier to put it into practice to set all students on the path to success!
The first step is basic to us as teachers. We love to nurture and take care of our little ones (even when they're in big bodies, my high schoolers reminded me so often of my kinders). At the start of the year, we check in on basic needs for all students. We can't assume everyone has the same foundation.
Do they have food? Breakfast? Lunch? I push my students hard and they respond with a ton of hard work. They need fuel to power those big brains. They need energy to respond.
I would keep a stash of snacks in the room for those who came hungry (e.g. oranges, breakfast bars). After sharing with my friends (non-teachers) about the state of some of my students, they began to donate food and their time to come help out.
Are they cold? Or too hot? Or completely wet from a rain storm? Our school had a large lost and found. At the end of the school year, I'd rescue unclaimed sweaters, jackets, shirts, pants, and more to keep on hand for those days when students didn't 'remember' to bring the right clothes or just got caught from changing weather.
Are they sleepy? Now this one is rough so keep an open mind here. Some of my students didn't get enough sleep through no fault of their own. For example, one student of mine had been removed from their home due to abuse allegations and didn't get placed into a foster home until late, 3am. Then he was up at 6am to get ready and be back at school. I just let him sleep the first few hours until he said he was ready. I could've forced him to stay awake, but current research indicates a sleepy brain is a non-learning brain.
We can't always control what happens outside of our classroom which makes it more important that we create a controlled safe place for students in our classrooms.
These basics will free your students to learn safely and feel confident with taking the risks that learning requires. Keep an eye out for Part II, as our work has just begun...
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