3 Emotions Every Student Brings to School

Prepare to be uplifted and encouraged for I am about to reveal the three emotions every student is feeling at any given moment! Just think how this information will allow you to support and connect with your kids!

And the three emotions every child feels every day are: (drumroll…)

fear, grief, and yearning.

What? Not what you were hoping for? I know, it’s a real knee to the nuts! How encouraged are we feeling now?

On the surface these three appear to be paralyzing, debilitating. When actually fear, grief, and yearning are our formula for moving forward and growing. Let’s take a moment to recognize the truth in this.

I’m no psychologist, so I’ll first allow you to validate the three emotions in yourselves.

Find These Three In You

Fear: Simply think of your goals. Now reflect on the reasons they haven’t been met. You’ll probably find fear being a major culprit. Fear’s job is to protect us from any suffering, pain, or distress. Too often Fear works overtime and pummels us into a submission of worry.

Grief: Reflect on your personal well of loss. You can dig up the heavy sludge of deep sorrow related to family brokenness or death. Yet still, you can find grief in the day-to-day annoyances or troubles where a personal privilege or joy has been taken away.

Yearning: I hope you can find a longing for something inside you because this is the only emotion of the three with a touch of positive connotation. How is your yearnings connected to the grief and fear you’ve experienced? Closely, I’d guess.

We first must recognize fear, grief, and yearning in ourselves and others before we suddenly have a moment like this:

-Is this similar to exchanges you’ve had with students?

What’s a Teacher to Do?

  1. Recognize the emotion and develop an awareness of the overwhelming sources for their emotions. Compassion will ensue. You will like your students so much more when you identify the three roots of their behaviors.
  2. Offer mercy and grace because the child is experiencing fear, grief, and yearning.

Teaching’s a daunting task, breathing intimidation in every moment. But when we recognize the fears, griefs, and yearnings in every child the intimidation is suffocated. You have great reason to be compassionate, merciful, and a giver of grace. It’s not easy, but it is worth it!

 

Stay tuned or subscribe because there’ll be posts to come focused on each of these three emotions!

Human Growth: A Simple Process

Since the fall of man, God has used mystery to draw people to himself. Every conflict or failure is a chance to either move toward him, or away. I think few find this to be a fun way to learn, though I I learn the most when my curiosity is piqued with wonder. These are the times when the easy answer is the wrong answer. When faced with uncomfortable circumstances the progressive learner didn’t ask why. Instead he looked around, reflected, and considered the path of humble inquiry. Socrates had this figured out a long time ago when he said something like, the more I know the more I don’t know.

Eureka! The power of knowing how we learn   

We’ve been designed to learn, develop, and grow in every way: socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I feel like our culture is beginning to grasp how we learn. Smart people are revealing ideas like “The Growth Mindset” and “Event + Response = Outcome”. The growth mindset is the idea that dedication and working through struggles is critical to growth, and talent is just a starting point. It’s obvious to me now that it wasn’t Carol Dweck who came up with this mindset theory, but this is the perspective God has intended for our life ever since the existence of sin. I mean, he does tell us to consider it pure joy when facing trials because he is developing perseverance and maturity in us through circumstances (James 1:2-4). Could he be more clear about the perspective we are to have when given the chance to learn? Don’t avoidingly sidestep anything because anxiety, worry, and fear cripple our ability to learn.

Our time on Earth has been designed to be filled with purposeful conflicts and problems so I suppose we should teach our children how to deal with those problems. After all we’re to “Train up a child in the way he should go,” (Proverbs 22:6).  Our response to those issues determines how we grow. In this place there is a growing sense of entitlement. Many hold the perspective that the events that happen to them are controllable. The myth of “Because of who I am, bad things can’t happen to me” is a very dangerous stance. Look at the story of Job and imagine if his response to problems was from a point of entitlement!

Entitlement is just our Earthly desires on display. One of the most unattractive attributes is a puffed out chest filled with pompous disposition. This is grown from a complete misunderstanding of the truths and reality of our life. Thank God for his pure plan, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 8:28

It’s a battle we all fight, everyday.

Tools for Learning

Sorry to break it to you, but please consider this news with pure joy! When we need to develop in an area, we are given conflict. Yes, we are asked to embrace the struggle, hurt, grief, and frustration that comes with conflict. I think a great example of this is marriage. The first couple years of my marriage was littered with purposed conflict. We worked in it and responded to it and it made all the different. I must say, I tried to avoid it but thankfully my wife is much smarter than me and she helped me realize the process of growth takes effort and intention. Or if you’d prefer a much different example, let’s look at Lebron. The greatest basketball player on the earth has conflict too. Other teams got smart and decided to double team him or punish him with fouls every time he got close to the basket. So Lebron didn’t just continue to practice. He knew if he wanted to enjoy a long successful career he had to work on an alternative to going to the basket and getting beat up. He developed his outside shot and is now even more difficult to guard. (I love sports analogies and have a baseball one that applies as well, but I’ll spare you the boredom).

So you see you will not go through life unscathed, if you claim to, you’re an infant in every way.

I find Isaiah 43:19 very encouraging. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

The path of development is filled with challenging elements. Each element has been divinely designed.

 

May you take joy in your wilderness or desert

 

Why Routine and Boring Stuff Matters

The Flu Revelation

I didn’t realize the importance of routines until I came down with the flu and was out of commission for about a week. I had lost all momentum. While sick I had a difficult time even reading. Now feeling better all I had to do was hop back in the routine. Problem was I didn’t have a strong routine established. I didn’t have a solid personal morning routine, I’m realizing more that I didn’t have a good classroom routine established. Now here I am navigating a sea storm with a battered ship and torn sails. No reference points and limited controls.

Don’t completely blame me yet, I had thought I had routines, but they had never been tested. After laying around and following only the schedule of my nausea for a week and was now expecting to hop back on the productivity train without a hiccup. For some, this might be a simple task, but without setting strong routines my train had stalled to a stop. It takes a lot to get a locomotive going from a still position.

I had so much I wanted to get done but I didn’t have a starting point. Missing school a few days, my students had forgotten any idea of expectations that had been set for the class. I see what was lacking. When I was there, I kept it together, but it wasn’t set-up to keep moving without my input. The same was true for my mornings. Did I feel like getting up early today? Oh well, I’ll just hit snooze six times. I’ve allowed excuses to creep in and feelings to manipulate.

I don’t get giddy when shown a schedule and I’ve never found calendars to be particularly sexy. These have more of my attention now.

Establishing Routine

We’re rhythmic beings. Our Sabbath should be just like our heartbeat, consistent and reliable. We must have a rhythm if we’re expected to weave together a career, personal interests, family engagement, and spiritual growth. I’ve begun to have set times of the week for these but I didn’t have it instilled prior to getting sick.

Having specific times for writing and personal hobbies makes me more reliable to my family, no longer sporadically saying, “Hey, I have an idea I want to write about, is it alright if I go write for a bit?”

The same is true for my teaching. I think I apply effective strategies for learning in my classroom. Although I’ve yet to instill them in an organized manner. To the students, these different strategies show up unexpected.

I’ve been given a needed opportunity to reevaluate the organization of my classroom and my life. This time of year is always busy for me. It seems like requirements and obligations keep coming at me in the spring, but I now have specific places to put them.

Instilling My Routine

5:30am: Devotion and then write

Work: Get in early and get out on time

4-8pm: Commit to family

8-10pm: Personal commitments (read, woodworking, the occasional tv show with my wife). My readings and activities I do at night often relate to my teaching and writing.

This is not written in stone but I have specific places to put certain obligations. I feel more in control and reliable for my family and students and there is still room for occasional spontaneity.

 

Where is your life on the tidy to chaos spectrum?

I’m far from a productivity guru but my last post was also on this topic.

Finding Productivity in Serving Others, Not a To-Do List

“Data vs. Story” The Debate is Everywhere

Data versus Story.
I see these two perspectives battling it out in many facets of life.

The statistical approach is demanded in schooling and marketing. The analytics are desperately consulted by sports franchises looking for the slightest edge. Even churches can begin to define themselves by the numbers.

The old idea of Story, determining meaning through interactions and connections with others, remains critical. It’s not as shiny and at times it’s uncomfortable, but its proven to work in everyone of the fore mentioned categories.

In Education

As an educator I’m trained to chase anything that provides a glimmer of hope. (This is also why I fit the persona of the typical Cleveland sports fan.) Education decision makers are enamored with data-driven instruction, standardized assessments, and progress monitoring because these things provide a quick picture. A simple number that is easy to understand. This makes it easy to calculate the next move without understanding the story and all of its variables.

Our analytical nature and our desire to understand and interpret everything sometimes takes over. Like Philip when Jesus fed the 5,000. He was crunching the numbers attempting to figure out how much it would cost to feed the crowd. While Andrew didn’t require a clear numerical answer. He just directed the few loaves and fish to the One who chooses to work through relationship and story (John 6:1-15). The Creator of humans seemed to choose story over data in this case.
    -Sidenote: If you’re looking for a model, Jesus’ preferred teaching strategy was and is  personal connection and parables.

I have faith in our teachers because the initial desire to be a teacher is rooted in building relationships with students. There are teachers fighting off the confines of data with strategies like genius hour and maker space that are based on the personal connection between the student and her learning. This educational design also relies on human interaction and processing the world around us.

In Marketing

For so long business and marketing has been about precise decisions based on consumer statistics. Now, the modern business model is seeking to build value through growing relationships with honest generosity. See the marketing philosophy of Seth Godin or Donald Miller’s StoryBrand as examples.

In Church

Too often the blinders of the flesh take over and measure worth according to the attendance numbers or financial giving. I’m sure the book has been written, 10 steps to become a mega church. The struggle is the same here as it is in business, sports, or school. The temptation to see quick results and affirm one’s impact is constant. The longstanding church is relationship-driven utilizing authentic connections between people.

In Sports

Professional sports is going the opposite direction, putting an increased emphasis on the analytics while placing team chemistry in the backseat. Franchises are using extreme equations to determine their most productive roster. Check out the movie Moneyball as evidence of this mentality.
But we can’t solely rely on statistics. It is the reason we can never accurately compare players across decades and generations, because we can’t isolate statistics in a bubble. If we could then it’s easy to conclude that Karl Malone was the second best NBA player of all-time (second in career points). Also Drew Bledsoe was a better quarterback than Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, and Bart Starr (more passing yards).

We’d be silly to make these claims without considering the never ending variables. 

Choose Story

No matter the industry, the best teams and franchises pair good players with great team chemistry.

Our mind and thoughts are driven by the concept of story, it’s the only way we can determine meaning in our lives which are pushed by so many unpredicted variables. I have no doubt that story is intended to better the human being. There’s even a data based book that proves this: Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story.

Go ahead and attempt to map out your days and years ahead using statistics and a linear equation. Let me know how accurate your hypothesis is to reality. 
Instead engage with those around you while acting according to your established vision.

Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com