Caring, Armor, and Platform Shoes vs. Pain and Repetition

The lessons learned from “Let Care Shine Through” offer a valuable tool in the testimonies of Ms. Grover and Ms. Sampson. In order, I feel I can use the concepts of Teaching with Urgency, Offering High Expectations and Support, Overhauling Deficit, and Expanding the Meaning if Achievement in my future classroom. The idea of urgency, that we only have them for a finite and rapidly dwindling amount of time each day for less than a year, adds passion to the need to positively impact our students’ lives through modeling and education. It helps to see the child beyond the “data points” of the lesson plan and anchor standards. As far as expectations, I am coming from a community where “every one gets a GO.” If a soldier fails a test? His sergeant is held accountable and must retrain him until he passes. This is an awful way to teach in that the use of pain and repetition only creates muscle memory versus true interest and ownership of subject matter. Combining the concepts of High Expectations and Support with Overhauling Deficit, students become self-actualized and have a sense of belonging and raised self-esteem–they are worth more than a checked block on an evaluation. Finally, the vignette of the student and her profane letter brought back a story that has stuck with me: in 2007 there was a young Private who decided he wanted to quit instead of going back to war with our unit. He wrote his resignation to the Command Sergeant Major. Now, this guy was a beast. At 5’2″ and solid, angry muscle, he was known as the “Raging Hatian.” He was also very Haitian. As in one devoured soul shy of being the incarnation of Papa Legba Haitian. So the Private is shaking, but has found his inner courage and resolve. He knocks on the door three times as we are taught to do in Basic Training. “Enter” the CSM says, not looking up from his Court Martial Document where he is about to devour another soul. “Sergeant Major?” The CSM looks up. His smile fails to meet his eyes. But he offers active listening and hears the young man out on why he should be allowed to resign from the army. He then looks over the resignation and, as the young man speaks, begins to red-ink the document for grammatical errors. He handed it back and explained to the soldier that while he appreciated the effort, no good employer would ever accept such an unprofessional document, and that the soldier was more than welcome to resubmit after making the appropriate corrections and coming up with a more sound, after-army career/education plan other than begging for a discharge because he didn’t want to deploy with his unit.The soldier took the dripping massacre of a document and never returned. Last time I heard about him, he went on to deploy with his unit and is making his way through the ranks as an upstanding leader. I like to think that part of this is because he had good leadership, a CSM that overlooked his deficiencies as a soldier and saw his potential as a person.


The other article was a great confidence booster! The main takeaway is that we are people, we’re not perfect and no one expects us to be, and that the students will still learn. Just be ourselves and give our best. And don’t worry about buying platform shoes to make us taller in front of a class of junior high students.

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