Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Hit a Student

Yes, you read the title correctly. I lost control and hit a kid in the face this past Friday. It wasn’t my intention, but it just sort of happened. I thought I had the situation under control but I was wrong. This is how it happened…


It was a normal Friday morning and I was in the tile gym. I saw the student standing a measly ten yards away from me. He was mocking me, making faces at me, and even doing a fair amount of trash talking. So, I did it. In my defense though, I was aiming for his gut. However, my release was all off and the ball sailed a little high on me and caught this trash talking student right on the chin.

Soon after I released it I knew there would be consequences of this action as a barrage of bombardments balls flew in my direction. I was hit and out before my ill-fated ball even made contact with the poor student’s face.

I continued to play the rest of the game with the over 200 students in the gym that morning and had a blast. More than the fun of the game, but for the relationship building that happens on such occasions. For most students, teachers are just adults in a classroom that assign homework and give tests. In this case, I was a player just like every other person in the room and the kids love it.

Now when I ask the students to put some more effort into a project they are more willing. Why? The reason is that I am not longer just a teacher, but I am also that guy that will take a shot and play bombardment with the kids in the morning. I shoot hoops with them during study halls, and have been known to play RISK with them from time to time. In kid language it gives me a little street credit and that pays large dividends in the classroom.

Kids will work hard and do what is asked of them if it comes from someone they have a positive relationship with. Those relationships may take days, weeks, or months in a classroom. However, if you look in the right places they can be built in a morning of throwing bombardments balls at each other. They can be found playing table tennis, shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball, or the host of other extracurricular activities available to kids. Those are great places to build those relationships that will help kids buy-in to your classroom and more importantly into you as the teacher.

Relationships are key in life and certainly key in a student, teacher relationship. How are you cultivating your positive relationships with students?
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