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Thread by @SchleiderJustin: “This may be a bit of a long thread. The purpose of the thread is not for me to claim I am a great teacher. It is simply to show that what I […]” #physed

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This may be a bit of a long thread. The purpose of the thread is not for me to claim I am a great teacher. It is simply to show that what I preach, I do and it works. We are always asked to show evidence of what we are doing to prove it works. What I will show you is all the evidence I need.
Everything I share with you I have asked for permission from the two students to share. I will make up fake names and blur an evidence that will tie back to them. Again I have asked both students and got permission to share our stories.
Every year my 6th grade teachers have their students (we go prek-6) write letters of gratitude to anyone on the staff that they feel thankful for. The notes are hand written. It is an honor to receive them. They are only allowed to choose one person to write them to. (update found out they can write as many as they want. Still makes me feel good about receiving the letters.)
One of the letters I received was from a boy I will call Pat. When Pat walked through the door with the letter I almost started crying. I had wrote in an earlier blog this year about him. You can read it here Every trimester I do a check in with my students one of the questions I ask my ss is How much does Mr. S like you? He gave me a 1 out of 5. A one. I was perplexed. He was white, a male, athletic, and rarely ever in trouble. I had no implicit bias I could see against him. I liked him! I was flummoxed as to why he thought that.
My next step was a meeting with him. I asked him why he thought I didn’t like him. He said because I never listened to his ideas. I thanked him for his time and sent him back to class. I made no promises nor argued with him. Who was I to tell someone that what they were feeling was wrong? What I did for the rest of the year was listen to him. When his ideas were able to be executed we did them. I met him halfway. What I did was not miraculous nor extraordinary. It was something every Jo or Jane Shmo can do. The difference was I constantly check in with my students. I care about what they think. This didn’t take some crazy amount of technology nor a masters degree. It took me liking my ss enough to ask them what they thought. That. Simple. Here is the letter he wrote me.
To summarize this first half of a crazy long post ask your ss what they like, what they don’t like, what they think you think of them. We serve them. This is the easiest way to improve your classroom management, behavior, test scores etc. Use your power for good.
The next half of this thread is about what I teach. I have been learning about the negotiated curriculum. I have also honed my #physed philosophy to a couple of basic tenets. The first one is create a positive association of movement. There is nothing more important than that.
The second part is connect what we are doing to the outside world. That being outside of the gym/school. The third part is moving should be a part of socialization. Once I figured this out I have been actively working to become the best at delivering these ideas to my students.
You never really know how much things are sinking in even when you are assessing them. So this next young lady walks through the door with a hand written letter for me. Again I am overwhelmed because they could have chosen anyone to write to and she chose me.
This is what she wrote. Let’s break this down.

She thanks me for making class fun. That’s cool but fun isn’t the end all and be all.

She goes on to say that games have more meaning and yes playing games and learning are important.

If it ended there I would have been bowled over! She goes on. she writes:
Do you know what that means to a #physed teacher? It is validation. It is years of stereotypes being thrown out the window. Yes what we teach is not just for
being done in school. It is something that you can and will use outside of school. You know where we want the knowledge accrued in school to be used! Is there anything more important a student can say to a teacher? Don’t think so.
Again my point is not to crow about what a good teacher I am. It is to show those out there that if you have a philosophy and you show them just how passionately you believe in it the students will get it. The trick is to really work on the why behind your teaching.
So to conclude my longest thread ever here are some actionable steps.

Check in with your kids every trimester or marking period. It can be a google form or a simple pencil and paper check in.

We have the power. It’s useless it is shared.
Use the data collected to actually change your approach. This negotiated curriculum or critical pedagogy is not new nor was it created by me. It is common sense. Let’s make it common again.
Finally find your philosophy. Why do you teach your subject? Why is it important? Why should the students care about it? Please don’t say cause they will need it for middle school, high school, or college. Why is it useful to them now and in the future. Why is it useful outsideof school? There is nothing more important than the why. Simon Sinek wrote the book and I am drinking the Sunny D.
Then show the ss why you are so passionate about your subject. Tell them your philosophy. Be open. Be human.
Finally like your students. Love your students. #physed

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