The Winter Break is upon us. I am sitting here watching the Mandalorian and pondering life. Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about some of the messages we see so often on twitter and how the more common sense posts, that shouldn’t need saying, are the most popular posts. Things like “Remember to be Kind”, or “Relationships Matter” seem to flood the EduTwitter world. I don’t know if it is just because some like to wade in the shallow end of discussions or if a frighteningly large amount of educators really did not believe this before some cheesy slide or overly shared quote helped them to “see the light” Regardless I have found my Twitter lately far less motivating then it had once served in my teaching. Of course there are pockets of brilliance and educators that carry the flame to light the beacon but generally there is a lot of extinguished torches if I am going to hold on to the metaphor.
As a bit of fun I started making my own signs to poke some fun at the whole motivational signs on Twitter deal.
But this next one, while mostly some subtweeting nonsense at first, really caused me to pause and reflect.
2 years ago I had a student, who I have a fantastic relationship with now, ranting about how great a racist organization was because they were doing a number of things he agreed with. I started the corrective conversation in a calm manner. I explained the error in his thinking, the arguments void of any substance the act of racism that he was committing by celebrating the horrid talking points of a racist group. Instead of considering my points the student ramped up his efforts to “impress” the class with his offensive comments.
I lost my temper, I yelled. I broke my “stay calm” rule and the conversation ended. The room was silent, kids went back to work and the one sat and starred at me for a while before putting their head down and not working the rest of class.
It is two years later. We are sitting at the back of one of my classes, I don’t teach the student anymore but they spend the bulk of their time in my classroom. Out of nowhere they bring up the two year old incident. WORD FOR WORD. It was crazy to me at first that they could remember every small detail. I had apologized the next day. tried to “take back” the yelling. What I realized this week is that there is no taking it back. We yell and all the good doesn’t erase it. It is like yelling causes the memory to be protected. Not because they want to keep it but because it is a scar and those don’t just go away.
I think about my years coaching and the example my dad always was. Never a yeller. He might have gotten pretty excited but never did I see him yell at his players. When I see other coaches yelling at kids. It never sits right with me. I think it is why the kids know me as the one who stays positive at all times. (even though last year I got a technical)
This week I was sitting at a score table while two junior high students were volunteering to help. One possible mistake and the visiting teams coaches were complaining and arguing with the ref. An amazing example of how to build up character and motivate these kids to volunteer again.
So odd to me how inspiration comes. I sit watching this fantastic show and ponder the piles of work around me. I will get them done eventually. Perhaps some gentle reminders from my wife or an email from a student wondering about a grade. I know what won’t help me though, being yelled at.
If for not other reason to not yell as a form of motivation ask yourself how you might feel if someone communicated with you through turning purple and yelling in your face?
Motivated? I think not.
Now time to start making a list for the holiday break.