The "Yes" Teacher

Thursday, June 26, 2014
your curly contributor, Suzanne

Welcome back for another Relational Reality!  This weeks idea isn't so much an action as it is a mindset.  It doesn't need supplies or prep work.  The idea came from a blog that encouraged its readers to be "yes" moms.

Here's the premise:
When it comes to discipline or management, "no" prevails.  "No" is not bad.  Sometimes it is absolutely essential, potentially life-saving.  Nobody is trying to mess with these instances.  Instead, I want to talk about the non-essentials.  In our classrooms, and our lives, there is lots of gray.  There is no one right way and, in lots of situations, it simply doesn't matter.  That's where we are going to focus in today.  In these shades of gray (don't worry, I'm not going there), err on the side of "yes". 

An example:
It was a cold winter's day.  For real, I'm not talking Texan and translating a day in the low 50s as bone chilling.  It was the kind of day where you stayed up late the night before hoping school would be canceled.  Not that I would ever do that.  It's just hypothetical.  Everyone trudged into school with a snowflake-shaped chip on their shoulder.  The day proceeded as usual until after lunch.  That's when huge, fluffy, white snowflakes began to fall and cover the ground.  

Disclaimer: This was my first year of teaching, and I was likely still scared out of my mind.
The students began begging, "Can we go outside and play? Please!  Pretty please!!"  I got bogged down in the logistics- what if everyone doesn't have a coat?  What would their parents think?  Would the principal be okay with this?  My answer was no.  I continued on with my lesson.  Classic first-year move.  Bless my heart- no one was learning at that point.  I don't know why, but I still feel some guilt over that moment.  

My concerns were real, but couldn't I have found a way to make this a "yes" moment?  Sure!  We could have gone outside for x number of minutes.  We could have tossed the regularly scheduled lesson and searched our literature book for a snow/winter inspired poem or short story.

A "yes" teacher mindset does not promote chaos or a free-for-all.  A "yes" teacher mindset promotes memories.  It promotes laughter and shared experiences.  In those little instances where it doesn't really matter, choose to be that "yes" teacher.

  • Yes, we can partner read today.
  • Yes, we can play our vocabulary review game at the end of class.
  • Yes, you can decorate your final copy before turning it in...

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