Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 | 2 a.m.
It doesn’t matter what type of school you work in — a high-achieving school or a turnaround school — it’s difficult to educate children. You have the educational component at any level of teaching, and with children, you have the emotional component. You’re not just dealing with academics, you’ve got to build trust with children. That’s the glue that holds a classroom and an entire school together. Children have to know that you want them to succeed; otherwise, learning — successful learning where children thrive — is not going to be there.
The No. 1 problem leading to student failure is low expectations in a child’s world. One Hancock Elementary teacher recently told a child that he was doing great in class. The child was surprised, and his words still stick with the teacher and me. “Would you write my mom and tell her how well I’m doing? She doesn’t believe that,” the child said. That’s scary. It’s sad. We can’t let children have low expectations of themselves.
Of course, society has changed. We live with many challenges today, and society’s problems affect that’s happening in the classroom. The role of teachers is more complex. Educators have to deal with the mental health and educational capacity of children more than ever. It’s an integrated role.
When a child aggressively pushes somebody, the act of pushing someone else is not the problem. The real problem is the child cannot control his or her anger. We are having to teach kids about these things. Such problems have existed throughout the years, but teachers are having to fill an ever-growing role when it comes to managing behavioral challenges.
Such lessons are important to the success of a student, a class, a school, because if a child is not settled, the learning environment is unsettled and that is a problem for every child in a classroom.
Bottom line, we must have high expectations and they must extend from the academic to the behavioral performance of every child.
Jerre Moore is principal at Hancock Elementary.