Sunday, February 15, 2015

What matters most

I have little time left with my kids and I have been thinking about what to focus my energy on. There is a huge gap in academic coverage but I don't want to run the risk of covering much with low mastery because it will simply get undone over time. There has been a drop in values demonstrated in class without teacher reinforcement - especially team work, urgency and ownership - that is worrisome. These values certainly need to be restored. At the same time, the children are also falling behind on their extra curricular plans as well as on their journey toward self-awareness. In 30 days, what can I do to re-instill the sense of belief that a great vision is worth striving for. How do I make them maintain that belief even when I am gone?

It is not the largest tree but the tree whose roots grow the deepest that will withstand the rough weather. I think I know the answer. Values and a deeper sense of reflective practice are the two most crucial elements to strengthen the roots. That apart, there is a need for children to see them in practice. Academic learning will then happen automatically.

What if I made them set their own goals and make their team responsible to hold them accountable for it. A weekly commitment chart and a team led feedback everyday.

What if I made them take more responsibility in their own showcase. Without doing many things, focusing on one idea in which the kids take ownership of each other's actions and make it happen. What if I set a high bar of excellence on it.

What if I focused on a lot of positivism - positive shout-outs not just for achievements, but for the smallest of things like giving answers following the Q&A expectations, following directions the first time when no one else does or making an effort that stands out from the average.

What if I kept consequences simple but immediate - like a reward that gives immediate gratification, a consequence must lead to immediate reflection on action.

What if I gave them time in every lesson to reflect deeper on how it links with their vision.

All this will not take time. It will only require planning, patience and persistence. It will prove to be the most effective utilization of the time we have left - to be able to put in 60 seconds in every minute - a 100% in every second. Kids will see the worth in it and consequently, learn. 

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