Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Feelings Teacher

Each year I do classroom groups with our school social worker. This year we had a new social worker and she introduced herself as "The Feelings Teacher."

I adore this description. As we went through our lessons on bucket filling and stress strategies it dawned on me how it is important that we all focus on being "The Feelings Teacher." While academics and rigorous instruction are important, as teachers, many of us entered the profession for one and one reason only, the kids. It is our job to help these little humans turn into well balanced citizens that have the ability to learn, lead, and feel. In 6th grade I get to see my students blossom into some really awesome young adults, and it is nothing short of amazing. Enter "Suzy Q." Little miss Suzy Q was in my class last year and heard a rumor around her Jr. High hallways that I accepted a new position in a different district for next year. THIS email is why being "The Feelings Teacher" is so very important. 

While this little lady is mature WAY beyond her years, and seriously in touch with herself - she has shown me that curriculum and instruction are not the definition of my teacher self worth. 

Focusing on the whole child is a large part of my educational philosophy, and while educational philosophy is on the table, I really believe in the power of the read aloud. So yes, every afternoon at lunch you will find my 11 and 12 year olds strewn across my Ikea black and white polka dot carpet. They are snuggled up with pillows and stuffed penguins, listening to their dear 'ole teacher read (often laughing at the funny parts before I can spit them out - my poor audience....) This is my favorite time of the day to sit, relax, and have some very real conversations with my students. I try to carefully select novels that are high interest, but will also prompt discussions that I can guide them through. Four of my favorite books contain some pretty tough topics, so I love them for a read aloud. We can talk through the life challenges, and these characters truly take the driver's seat in helping to shape the young adults my students become. 

You may have read one of these titles, all of these titles, or none of them, but as a member of the human race I think reading these should be 100% required. Seriously. I don't have that power, but if I did... :) My dad is a fifty something year old hardworking dude with a serious knack for being a boss. One night at family dinner I couldn't stop talking about Wonder and the impact it was having on the culture of my classroom. My dad snagged my extra copy and brought it for one of his coworker's daughters who was having some trouble at school. She flew through it and proceeded to tell my dad that HE must read it (girl knows what she is talking about!) These are books that make you think, love, question, and truly teach empathy. Each touches on a social issue that is sure to hit the heartstrings. Meet these 4 kids who you just can't pass up.

Wonder - Auggie is a 5th grader with facial deformities
The Thing About Georgie - Georgie is a 4th grader who is not of average height
Rain Reign - Rose is a 5th grader on the Autism spectrum
Out of my Mind - Melody is a 5th grader with Cerebal Paulsy

Whether you suggest one of these books to a student, a coworker, read it aloud to your class, hang out by the pool with it, or even give a copy to your dad - give Auggie, Georgie, Rose, and Melody a chance to change your world, they won't disappoint, I promise.

1 comment:

  1. hey! I love these ideas of read alouds. Im doing 5/6 multiage next year and was wondering what book you would start with as a read aloud in August?