Lollipop, entering fifth grade, fretted and worried. When we entered her classroom, she wouldn't say hi to her friends, and she wouldn't say hi to her teacher. She's terribly shy and always anxious, so this situation was overwhelming for her. I think that her new teacher could have dismissed her behavior as rude - certainly it would look that way since society says make eye contact and respond when someone speaks to you. That is really hard to do when you are shy. Instead, her new teacher recognized that she was anxious and started asking questions and shared her own story of having back to school jitters. Lollipop didn't shake off the shy immediately, it will still be a little bit before she gets good and warmed up, but I could see her shoulders relax a little. Her teacher turned this into a chance to build a bond with her, and I couldn't have been more thankful.
Peach, entering Kindergarten, bounced into her new classroom like she owned it. The Peach has confidence like nothing I have ever seen, and believes that everyone in the world already adores her. She shook her teacher's hand and then ran off to play with all of her new best friends. While filling out some paperwork, I noticed a little guy sobbing. He had big fat crocodile tears running down his face, and when he mom introduced him to the teacher, the tears came faster. This didn't phase the teacher at all. She got right down with him and started talking to him. Telling him about the fun things they would do and learn, asking him questions about his interests, and forming a bond with him. The tears stopped, and even though he said that he was still nervous, we all could tell that Monday was going to be a little bit easier because his teacher took the time to show him some love.
Teaching is certainly changing. From keeper of knowledge to facilitator of learning, some teachers might find themselves wondering exactly what their job description is these days. One thing will never change though, and that is that students need and want a positive relationship with their teachers. Students need to be lead through the changing landscape of education, and while each and everyone one of them might not be the picture perfect image that we might have in our head of a student, everyone deserves love and respect. I appreciate these teachers, and all of the teachers out there drying tears and allaying fears on the first day and beyond.
Have a great year this year!