Blog Entry by Ken Page
Ken Page is the Executive Director of the Vermont Principals' Association (VPA). Ken was a teacher for 15 years and a principal for 21 years, mostly in Central Vermont. He has been supporting and advocating for school principals at the VPA and in the Vermont statehouse since 2009.
Of course there is a direct connection between a respectful environment and learning. Most people know this... But, easier said than done - right?
At the risk of not trying to sound preachy, I want people to understand that helping kids and staff to develop a safe and nurturing environment is hard work. And, if you don't already know it, the work is never done.
During my years as a teacher and principal, I learned a few things to share:
- It's not enough to just do your part - developing a positive and respectful environment is everyone's job. So, the answer is in a school-wide approach.
- It's tempting to want hang with other adults, but really, kids need eyes on - when coming in, going out, and when transitioning to classes. Supportive supervision is the key.
- Really, kids are just trying to figure out how it all works; so, delivering re-directions and consequences need to be done discreetly and respectfully.
- Non-class time can be high-stress for some - the bus ride, lunch, break, and after school. If difficulties arise with one of these, it is a chance to teach how to (and how not to) socialize.
- Kids know the go-to adults in their school, the ones who always can have time to listen, no matter how busy they are. (Is this you?)
- Conflicts? Of course, there will conflicts—but these are opportunities for growth and gaining new perspectives.
- Want to develop a 21st century learner? Start with teaching kids to be kind to each other.
Page Last Updated on July 8, 2014