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Episode 2.5 | Generous- Educator Edition


 

Season One | Episode 2.5

 

I was perusing social media one day, and I came across this story about a student who wrote at the bottom of their assessment that they would like their bonus points donated to the student who scored the lowest on the exam. This got me thinking! Who is this kid, and more importantly, who raised them? This example is so far from the mindset I had as a student that I had to start considering the other factors involved with this student displaying such a spirit of generosity without being prompted. I know for a fact that I would have never given up bonus points. I wouldn't have cared if the quarter was ending tomorrow and I had 150 points out of 100. I had a scarcity mindset growing up. Instead of thinking about how I can give and be generous, I would have just been that student that overachieved by that much. Which makes this student extra special? Let's think about this student in the context of the quote I shared—

"Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness." —The Dalai Lama XIV

What context of generosity was created around that student? What did his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, principals teach him/her? In that student's character, the seed of generosity was planted, which provided this student with an opportunity to showcase the skill that they learned. I would bet that the skill of being generous and showcasing generosity came from people that acknowledged what was valuable and the feelings associated with giving. Let's put this into an educator's context...when I think of being generous as an educator, I think of sharing among colleagues and then generously with our students, albeit with limited resources. Let's talk about colleague sharing first. Many schools aren't designed to prioritize venues for teachers to share without it feeling like more work and an additional protocol or meeting to have, so we tend to stay in our silos and fending for ourselves. We are probably spending the same money on similar resources on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers from the classroom next door. During my teaching career, I was fortunate to have a group of highly effective ad successful teachers take me in and let me observe their lessons, planning, and sharing meetings. I just modified what I learned to my grade level and shared it with the teachers on my team. I created a Youtube channel for a few reasons; I would teach a few weeks ahead, so others had a point of reference but also could see the management and maneuvers made to make the lesson stick. It helped grow my practice to sit and reflect, but I was also happy to put more examples out to the world about the brilliant potential that my students possessed. Sometimes teachers need to see that it is possible to have a classroom performing like a well-oiled machine with students that have been through adverse experiences. We will get into that another time, but my point is sharing is caring even in education when you can feel lonely and unsupported at times. It was extra work but well worth the learning that came from it. The culture of giving in the education world can shift if you move beyond the mindset of only sharing to the extent that someone has shared with you. Mutually beneficial relationships in the education world can push the needle forward, but you have to take the step, someone has too. I know how hard it is in the performance review and heavy observation-feedback climate, but find a few teachers you can trust, be open about your improvement goals and take the reigns of your professional development. Okay... Let's shift to our impact on students... If we take a mental walk to communities of high-need, into classrooms where many teachers and leaders aren't equipped to support students that have been and are currently attempting to manage trauma, stress, and education, we will see a trend. We often hear teachers and leaders manifesting more of the scarcity mindset in our students. If the only time we mention the extra items we bought for our classroom (out of our own money) comes at a time when you are emotionally unconstant and frustrated, we may be adding more stress to an already stressful environment. If you think about it, you may only be mentioning it to your students because you want them to fear that it can all be taken away in a moment. In your mind, you may be thinking that you wish your students to know that you cared more to spend money on them, and they are acting in a way not to deserve it. Think for a minute what that may do to a child who already has fluctuating and inconsistent basic living needs. Would their behavior change after they shifted their teacher into the boat of other adults that can't be trusted to be consistent support to them? I've been there, trust me! I stumbled on the science of learning later and development later in my teaching career, and that shifted my think deeply about the experiences that my students were bringing along with them every day. I realized I could either be a support to the opportunity for them to grow or contribute to their vulnerable state because of the adverse circumstances that life dealt them. If I could go back and do many things differently for some of my students, I would. This is the reason why Revolve Learning exists. We want to be generous with the lessons I have learned along the way that I never received as a teacher. If we are in the classroom to build relationships and trust so that our students can learn and access academic content, we have to do better at making sure that we mention what we purchased for our students in moments of joy. Imagine the experience a child would have if they heard their teacher say, "I got this for our class because I thought this would be incredible to learn from and experience together. I thought it would be nice for our class community, so I invested my money into getting this for US." How do we create a classroom culture that prioritizes sharing and generosity and scaffolds up to that? You can't have a socratic seminar with students that don't even like talking to each other and sharing their materials without fighting. There are levels to this! We want to get students out of rows and into circles, but some steps leading up to that so it can be successful and meaningful experiences. We are here to help you! That's the magic sauce of education to spark the joy of learning in our students, but first, educators need to have the light themselves. Our vision here at Revolve Learning is that:

All educators that impact the lives of young people feel equipped, empowered, and inspired to lead children in the classroom and beyond by instilling a love of learning that will unlock the full potential in each child. All children have the knowledge, mindset, and skills they need to see and seek challenges as opportunities and positively contribute to their communities. Will you join us?


 

You will find the EDUCATOR EDITION- Questions to Connections Worksheet for this episode on the word GENEROUS here!

If you are new here, check out our Path to Meaningful Connections resource!

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