The Messages We Send – Intended and Unintended – Annette Brinkman
The 2016-2017 school year is almost over. I know you are excited and looking forward to a well-deserved rest. Each day for the rest of the school year, stop and ask yourself what message you are sending to your students.
• Are you counting down the days with your students?
Your intended message is to have fun with your students in counting down the last day of the school year. To remind them that they have worked very hard this school year.
When we count down the days of school, we create ourselves a couple of problems.
1. It’s like dumping gas on a fire. We take easily excited kids – tell them how many days are left – and then wonder why they are not able to focus.
2. Think of your students who are seriously worried about summer coming… YOU are their structure. Their safety. Their security. By counting down the days, you are reminding some of your students that they won’t have you – safety and security. Then we wonder why our “tough kids” are even tougher….
• Are you using field trips as a reward?
Your intended message is for students to understand that there are rewards for turning in work, being “good,” etc.…
1. One of the unintended messages you may be sending to students and parents are that field trips have no educational value and are not important.
2. Once a student knows he/she cannot go on the field trip, activity, etc.… the child has nothing to lose…
• Are you taking down bulletin boards, gathering books, etc.…? before the last day or two?
You have worked hard! We are going to be efficient by getting our room cleaned out for the summer.
1. The last week or two of school aren’t important… Think of the message this sends not only to students but to parents and the public at large. When you look at the cost of each day of school, we owe it to our students to teach up until the end. If your core has been taught and tested, talk to the teachers that will be receiving your students and ask them what they would like you to focus on for the last couple of weeks of school. This will give you a purpose and your colleagues will appreciate it.
2. Once again, we are sending a message that will spiral all students – some because they are ssooo excited for summer. Others because they are ssooo dreading summer.
Remember, it’s easier to teach than babysit! Enjoy your summer!