Lara Lessons: Theories on Thursday

Who knew I'd like blogging so much that I am in my 15th week of Upcycled Education?  Actually, if my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Sparkman, knew there would one day be something called "blogging," I bet he would say I'd make a great blogger.  I do like to talk.  The gift of gab.

P, little O and Jen at a bike fundraising
event for autism research. 

My graduate class just ended.  Actually, my undergraduate classes just ended, too.  One of my star graduate students emailed a thank you to me.  She thanked me for my "joyful way of approaching the world...."  I was already emotional before her email arrived in my inbox.  Now, I think I've reread it over ten times.  I wonder if students know what impact they have on us, teachers.  Their words, their behaviors, their being.  Interesting to note, I never met my graduate students in person.  The class was entirely online.  Could she really "get" me without meeting me in person?   Do you, fabulous blog reader, get me from this blog?

Today is usually our Theories on Thursday day.  Since I've blogged about everyone else's theories, I thought I'd take a shot at my own. I shall dub my theory, though more philosophical, Lara LessonsIf you know someone at LARABAR, please ask them if they'd like to sponsor me.  I need sustenance on my bike rides ....and for blogging.





Lara Lesson #1:  I echo Dr. James Comer's famous quote from the 90s, "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship."  Teachers, work on your relationships with students first, no matter what the pacing guide says.

Lara Lesson #2:  I'm going to sound like a bumper sticker here:  Be the change you want to see in the world.  The attitude and way of life you project is the attitude and way of life your students emulate.  This is very FISH philosophy, no?

Lara Lesson #3:  Be like IKEA.  Unboring.  If you are slightly bored (let's say "x"), then your students are probably 10x.  That's about the extent of mathematics for this theory. 

Lara Lesson #4:  Find balance.  Too much sun and you get sunburned.  Too much water rots the roots.  "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.  Know when to walk away, know when to run...."  I just solidified my membership as a GenXer quoting Kenny Rogers.  Proud.  Teaching takes energy, fortitude and awareness.  Give of yourself, but make certain you save some of yourself - your time, energy and passion - for your non-school moments.  It's just like that announcement on the airplane, "Put on your oxygen mask first before assisting small children...."

Lara Lesson #5:  Remember E. Paul Torrance's work.  He studied creativity for decades at the University of Georgia.   His famous words, "....fall in love with something...."  Secret trick:  Let your students know about your something.  Passion is admirable and contagious.  I bet you can guess which topics I am passionate about from my blog posts.  Passion kindly brings joy.

Joy.  How grateful I am for this blog, my teaching experiences, P and little O, my supportive friends, family, students and colleagues, Photoshop (ha!) and you, fabulous blog reader.

Always,
Jen

3 comments:

  1. I love your first Lara Lesson about having a relationship with your students. That relationship can spell the difference between success and failure. Students that have great relationships with their teachers learn much better in my opinion but it goes much deeper than that. Having a good relationship allows you to get inside the student's head. You can learn about their life, their family, and their interests and come up with a teaching style that will help them to learn better. Many kids have behaviors that stem from experiences outside the classroom. It's hard for a teacher to help the student if he/she has no idea what's going on with them. Having a good relationship allows the student to confide in the teacher and even to ask for help, advice, or guidance. Students are happier, feel safer, and are more motivated to be successful.

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  2. This is a great summary. I will channel you as I embark on my own teaching career! Thank you!

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  3. I love your Lara Lessons!!! Especially # 5, "fall in love with something"...too often students are expected to fully emerge into every subject as if it were their favorite. Everyone is passionate, excited, and good at something...so why not treasure what you are good at and try our best to be the BEST at what we Love :)

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