Every time that I say, Blanche Ely High School, I get the same reaction: Wow, you teach at Ely, that's a tough school? Yes! I teach at Ely and it is the best job that I have ever had...with the greatest kids that I have ever had the honor & privilege to teach!
People often ask me, "How do you do it? How do you get over 300 high school kids a day in oversized classes to listen to you"? I can answer that question in just one word: RELATIONSHIPS.
Rules without relationships don't work. If someone doesn't respect you or doesn't think you are worthy enough to be respected or simply doesn't like you, why would they listen to you? It is all about building relationships. Of course, there is also dedication, the ability to command an audience, talent, passion, and the knowledge of ones' subject matter, but a teacher can have all of those qualities but if she does not build good relationships with her students she will have problems with discipline, I guarantee.
Kids don't learn from people they don't like, it's a fact. You can be the smartest person in the world...but that won't make you a good teacher, either!
So how does a teacher build relationships? Is it the box of granola bars in her desk for anyone who is hungry. Or the endless pocket of change for the vending machine? Is it giving up planning time, lunch or opening the room before and after school for your students? No...it helps, but it is not the answer. I believe that kids KNOW if you are sincere, if you like them and if you truly care. Kids can tell...trust me.
Teaching and learning should be a joy! What would the world be like if every child had an adult who would tell them every day how special they are? That they can do great things and be great if they just do their best! Can you only imagine?
So...why do you think I point out to you guys every day all the beautiful qualities that I see in you? I tell you just in case you didn't notice yourself and just in case no one ever took the time to notice how special you are. Sometimes it takes just one person in your life that believes in you to change things around! You all can do whatever in life you want to do if you just set the goal and do what it takes to make it happen. I'll be here cheering you on all the way.
Hopefully, one day you will come back to see me like so many of my former students and say to me, "Thanks, Ms. B., you made a difference in my life. You made me feel like I was somebody...you told me I was great and when you said that I believed you and guess what Ms. B....I have a great life.I wanted to come back and show you what I did with my life. Thank you for believing in me".
Another refill of coffee and I'm off to live a glorious day! I love you guys, Ms. B.