Reactivate and Reground
During the past year, the pandemic has impacted both the way teachers deliver instruction as well as how students access information. The unexpected closure of schools across the country created chaos, turmoil, and uncertainty. At the end of last year, my concern was with how elementary students would adapt to the lack of hands-on instruction and social interaction. But I was determined to stabilize and reground myself by connecting with my purpose, personal values, and teacher language. Here are some ways you can use these three critical elements to reactivate and reground yourself during these turbulent times.
Reground in Your Purpose
Trust your inner being. As educators, we chose this work understanding that this work is hard. Throughout this past year, I reflected on the reasons why I initially chose education. My dedication to contributing to the academic and social growth of our youth is the purpose that drives my commitment to my students and staff. My purpose will always be grounded in ensuring our students receive equity in education and in helping them envision possibilities for themselves through their education.
Reground in Your Values
I am a strong believer of selfless service, a value which guides me, gives substance to my work, and helps me understand my role within my school’s ecosystem. Selfless service is a service that is performed without any expectation of result or award for performing it. Serving in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as serving within education during the Covid-19 pandemic, displays the interconnectedness of my role as an Army officer and educational leader. I constantly reground myself within this value so that I can continue purposeful work which will yield purposeful results for students and staff. It is my duty to ensure my teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom practices so that they too may selflessly serve their students. It is also my duty to instill in my staff the belief that they have a leader who is grounded in these values.
Reground in Your philosophy
Responsive Classroom practices have provided me with the tools to bring to life the virtual space for students and the teachers that I coach. What I realized is that because adults and students alike need to feel a sense of significance and belonging, my teacher language is my most powerful teaching tool. Over the past year, the strategies I was accustomed to implementing face-to-face became difficult to replicate in the virtual setting, so I maintained a laser-like focus on enhancing my teacher language and modeling how to build community by using core value teacher language with students and staff. Core values are the central component to the reinforcements teachers and students are given on a daily basis. For example: “Ms. Kelly, assisting with getting parents connected on ClassDojo is what teamwork is all about.” Remember, to uplift your students and teachers, reinforce the positive actions they are displaying, and support them in envisioning success.
When you feel as if this work is impossible, reground yourself in your purpose, values, and philosophy. This work requires constant self-reflection. It is important to try to remain optimistic and see yourself as the agent of change who can help navigate students through this time. Reground yourself in the things that fuel your purpose within education.
Written by Bridgette Kelly, Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher