Teacher and student rapport, how is it in your classroom?

As a teacher, have you really ever listened to what students talk about? Believe it or not, there are some pretty good conversations out there. A casual “ear to the ground” can let you know a lot about what is happening up and down the halls and in classrooms. For some reason, it seems to me, we do not give students enough credit sometimes to be able to think on a more mature level. Now, I am not saying that we should always provide them with a platform, but just listening and acknowledging goes a long way.

For example… the other day, I heard a student talking about another student’s conversation and their teacher in class. Work with me here; you know how this will go… it is worthy of being a case study…

Teacher… Here are the directions. Don’t ask me again, because I am not going to repeat them.
A few seconds go by…
Student… Could you please say what you said again?
Teacher… No, you should have been listening.
Student gets upset.
The teacher sends the student to the office.
The student is now out of class.
Much time has now passed.
The administration walks the student back to class.
Instruction time is stopped again.
Administration, teacher, student all get on the same page.
The teacher gives students the needed information.
The student goes back to class.
All is good?

Wow, know any teachers like this? Ok… I know we all want students to be attentive. My question is, why and how did it get to that point? I know we all want them to come in, sit down, be quiet, sit appropriately, etc. However…

If this is the worst thing you have to deal with, you have it pretty good as a teacher. So the student asked again. Did you set the stage for all of them to pay attention, to begin with? What did you do to help? It would have taken little to no effort to restate the directions. The teacher could have spun it to be a teachable moment of comedy. The teacher could have even gone back to the student’s desk and had a one on one moment. I don’t know, but telling the student no, did not help anyone.

Another question I have is what type of rapport are you establishing with that student and others? Remember, everyone in the class saw and heard the teacher’s response, and you know how student talk gets spread…

I do not know what was going on with the student or the teacher that day. I do not know why the situation had to escalate as it did. I know that we can get aggravated with students. But… I do know that in the end, the teacher had the opportunity to be the bigger, better person.

I have said this before, “If you can create an environment where your students feel invited, regardless of the subject you teach, they are going to give you more than a fair shake.” Be the teacher your students need. It will make a huge difference.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Passion and the Why – Is it good or bad?

In last week’s blog, I wrote on “Decision Making – Emotional or Factual?” One of the three areas where I believe decisions are made is with passion. A few people commented on it enough that I thought I would just use “passion” for our topic this week.

Going along with the title, is your “passion” for what you believe in good or bad? How you answer this, I know, is based on one’s perception and relativeness. However, I also know that putting perception and relativeness aside, your passion is defined by your values and even more by your core values. One of my great mentors at Mississippi College stated, “Values are what you believe in, core values are where you draw the line in the sand.”

A few friends emailed or stopped by to discuss “passion” as they see it regarding making decisions. Here are a few specific comments…

“To take positions we have to take for our clients, I must not only believe in the “rightness” of that position, but I need to have some passion for advancing that position… There are sometimes I do not believe in the “rightness” of what they wanted me to advance. The facts didn’t ‘geehaw’ with my core beliefs.”

“My experience is that some measure of passion for your positions on issues and core beliefs is necessary; otherwise, you come across as passive and lack genuineness.”

“It’s when passion is inappropriately expressed does it become detrimental. However, when you can exhibit passion properly (non-inflammatory), can passion help your cause.”

These are “spot on” with my belief as well on passion. Our passion has to be for the right thing. The “right thing” is where it gets fuzzy… I would say that the “right thing” depends on your “why”… the outcome you want (tangibles and intangibles), goals, motivation, attitude, etc… Is it for good or bad? Do you want revenge or to promote unity? Is your passion for selfish reasons, or is it being for others? Mostly, what is your agenda? I believe these are underlying thoughts as to what “fuels” our passion.

Upon a little digging… “The root of the word “passion” is found in the Latin word “passio.” From the late 1500’s “passio” began to take on the meaning of emotion and, in some cases, controlled emotion. And now we know why passion can help or hurt… it all depends on the “why” and if it is controlled.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Decision Making – Emotional or Factual?

This past Sunday, on our way home from church, Breana, our daughter (age 20), went on a positive, constructive rant, per se. Please note, we have a good many of those…

Much of what she said centered around her generation’s idea of making decisions based on emotions rather than factual information. As the conversation continued, I told Breana that I felt that she was way beyond her years in thinking, and to understand, that while she might see emotional decision making among her age group, that it also happens in all age groups and at all levels of leadership.

I have seen many leaders make decisions based on emotion. I acknowledge that there are those “gut decision” moments; however, when it comes to what truly affects the long term and creates a paradigm shift for the worse, emotional decisions hurt the future.

This idea goes beyond the “What was I thinking?” Usually, when I ask myself that, I wasn’t. Our emotions help define who we are, and emotions are not destructive. But… they can get in the way of how we respond and how we decide.

So… I thought I might start off the 2021 year with what I think hinders quality decision making when decisions are made by emotions…

Passion
Yes, I can get excited. Much about nothing and extremely much more about the things I am passionate about. Unbeknown to me (yeah, right), this affects my ability to make logical, factual decisions. The risk and the reward of what is at stake… Passion often leads you to make quick decisions. If you are not passionate about something, then most likely, you don’t care about the decision. This can lead to apathy, and we find ourselves not making a decision. Your passion does not change the facts.

Nerves
We all get nervous… some more than others. Often, you will find that whatever decision you are “worried” about does not affect the outcome. Being nervous about one area can overflow into other areas. Being nervous creates a mindset of indecisiveness. That’s even worse. Your nerves do not change the facts.

Anger
Ever been mad and made a decision? Me too… Usually, they are rash and without much judgment and more times than not… regrettable. Unlike passion and nerves, anger is like that boiling pot of hot water. It just continues to get hotter and hotter until that steam has to go somewhere. Remember this adage… Anger is one letter away from Danger. Your anger does not change the facts.

As 2021 is now here, we do not want to live in the past, especially last year, 2020. Moving forward, we need leaders who can make decisions that can set their emotions aside and base their decisions on what the facts are. Emotional decisions create feelings, and those feelings are either good or bad. When our feelings start making decisions… well, it does not matter what the truth is.

As Joe Friday of Dragnet said, “Nothing but the facts.”

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Our Gift of Truth

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Our Gift of Truth
 
Angels... they were heard on high,
By shepherds as they watched their flock by night.
 
The Glory of the Lord…
Brightening the darkness around them.
 
A mysterious message?
Yes, of great joy and for all people.
 
The Truth of Emmanuel...
Our God has come to us. 
 
Come, let us go and see …
This good news…
 
Unto us, a child is born…
God with us.
 
An infant, swaddling cloths, a manger...
Humility, at its core.
 
Word made flesh in person…
The Truth act of God.
 
The Heart of Heaven now beats…
Providing everlasting life.
 
Sovereignty and Deliverance…
Announced for mankind.
 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…
 
Permanence for our souls,
See what God has done.
 
Our God has made the Way for us…
Jesus, Our Savior.
 
Our Gift of Truth. 
 

©2020, J Clay Norton

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