Wow, what a few days and weeks can do to change the way education is…
As I sit here, at our kitchen table, writing this blog, I consider how education is exponentially changing, and for the better, I might add, (I hope). As educators, we have been given and give direction as to how education needs to work the past few weeks, and it appears how it needs to work in the months forthcoming.
One conversation that I have had with myself lately (I have a lot of those by the way) is, “How are teachers and students adjusting?” I somewhat have an idea of the teacher’s side of it, but what are our students thinking at this moment? For what apparent reason, I do not know, but Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs came to mind. If you are an educator, you should know what this is.
Your quick “Reader’s Digest” compressed write-up is this…
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943. The pyramid reflects the universal needs of society, in stages of human development. The most critical layer of the pyramid is the first layer, and upward a person moves. However, for a person to move upward, each layer below must be complete. The layers are, starting from the bottom as the foundation are: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Well, now the question you might be asking yourself is, “What does this have to with education?” I am glad you asked… Education is dealing with people (I know, duh moment for everyone). What I notice is that in Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is not a single layer that refers to an IQ of a person, but every layer can be associated with EQ.
The first layer is the Physiological layer, and while that is the foundation, the other layers are important as well. However, if our students and teachers, for that matter, do not have the foundational layer of their physiological needs met, then the chance to move upward is not going to happen, or if they do move up, it will be with limited motivation, and there is an increase in displeasure within an individual. What does all this mean? If a student is struggling to have their physiological needs met, then they are unlikely to pursue safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. And let’s throw in doing classwork for that matter.
With all the above being said, hopefully, you can see now why what we do as teachers during this “displaced” time is so essential for our students. The other day I was strolling through Twitter and saw this quote by Dr. Brad Johnson, who is an advocate for education… “Relationships before rigor, Grace before grades, Patience before programs, Love before lessons.” As I saw that, the first question that came to my mind was this… “How many educators are conducting their distance learning as if they were teaching the exact same way as if they were in the classroom?” “Newness of lessons be gone, I’ll just teach as if I were there,” they might say. If this is true, then we are failing measurably at meeting the EQ of our students.
The other day I tweeted out, “As educators, we have a powerful opportunity to be a constant example in our student’s lives during this time.” If we encourage them with relationships, patience, and love, then the rigor, programs, and lessons will fall in place. If we can help students help themselves, then they will be closer to moving up the layers of the pyramid and possibly gaining the self-actualization that we all want them to have. Motivation to succeed is not always innate with our students. The more we can do for them, the more I believe they will do for us. The time for us as educators to truly teach is here. Be the teacher our students need during this time.
Thank you to all the first responders and teachers doing what they do best. If you see one, say thank you.
Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…
Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others
©2020 J Clay Norton
Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on…
Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…
Tom Williams said:
Thank you for your thoughts. I would like to add that administrators need to take care of the school staff and faculty as well as the students. These are confusing times for all members of the school community.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The Book Chamber said:
Thanks Dr. Williams. Very true. This is a time that many leaders will be remembered for how they lead.
ch. walker said:
Amen, amen, J. Clay. Praying this makes all of us better not bitter, and we confirm the need for those relationships. What an awesome opportunity we have to reinvent ourselves in new, more relevant ways.