Lunch With A Friend: It’s Not About Fixing

It’s not about fixing something that’s broken, it’s about helping something that’s not working. 

As many of you might know, I am no longer in the classroom; as of June 2015, I have retired. My life has taken an unusual turn, one quite unexpected and I am learning to navigate the challenges it has presented. But my passion and interest in education has not waned. I am still in touch with my former school and colleagues and share what I learn with them as a connected teacher, from an incredible supportive PLN, on Twitter. This post is a reflection about a conversation I had with a friend, another retired teacher. Because we taught together for so many years, we often discuss our time in the classroom and as two grandmothers, of course, about our grandkids. The topic ventured into questioning what we could do to “fix” or “change” behavior: social, emotional and academic. I often think about the support services I recommended to parents, for their children, over the years. Was I being to eager to have the situation “fixed” and did I not give my student enough time to work on it (whatever that meant for the individual child), without outside intervention? Would building a stronger relationship with that kindergarten student first, have changed the course I recommended? Not easy questions to answer, but an important post to share, I think.  And of course, each situation must be judged on its own merit. I will be kind to me and say, for the most part, I took the time, waited, established the rapport to build trust before seeking outside help. When we went in that direction, the parents, therapist and I worked closely to facilitate growth and progress for the student. As I read about more self-Regulation  , differentiated Instruction , social-emotional Learning and executive Function I realize, with cogent awareness, all the incredible factors that influence our teaching and our students’ learning. What is it that we want for our students? What is it that we ask of our students? Do we take the time to ask the questions, to truly listen to the answers in the conversation, to wait? Without my own do overs, I hope this post will push a button, a reflection or a a-ha moment of awareness.

And so, along the way, we find that there is the next step, the one that says, It’s not about fixing something that’s broken, it’s about helping something that’s not working. And to me that feels right.

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