I have tried a new idea for me this year. My students and I just completed ten days of culture building in love, teamwork, establishing character strengths and working with the idea that we are family or tiospaye, Lakota for who you are with is family.
From my perspective, this was not easy. I would love to say that the students immediately jumped out of their seats and are running around loving each other and all they needed was me to put the idea in front of them. I would love to claim that it was a huge success.
I just do not know if it all will be a success.
I am in my sixth year of teaching and I am hoping I am the best version of myself for this school year.
I want so badly to foster a culture of love and appreciation for the human beings that we are working with on a daily basis. I want the students to know each other and accept that we are all different and that those differences are not weaknesses but strengths.
I have never attempted ten days of putting abstract concepts into motion and I have never been so tired. I am aware of the saying there is no tired like teacher tired, and the past couple of days have been really really hard.
To put love into action each student "scheduled" another student in the class on their calendar so they know who they need to meet with. Each day there may be a different prompt, today was "If you could morph into any animal, yes, I know humans are animals, you cannot choose human, what would you choose?" The students then have an opportunity to talk to the "other" students that are not in their normal circle.
To put teamwork into motion the students completed the Marble Challenge. The point of this is to work with the other members of your group to complete tasks that become harder as you complete them and get a marble from one end of the group to the other. At first students were blaming the person who dropped the marble. Then they realized that does not help someone want to be successful and most of the time nobody intentionally wants to cause the group to fail. Eventually the language became more productive and all were included in the decision process.
To put character strengths in front of the students, we watched, The Science of Character, and then completed the VIA Institute on Character's 96 question survey for the students to find their top 24 strengths. We will use these throughout the year to have a lens to determine if their actions match with who they want to be and will it help them be their best versions of themselves.
To talk about family/tiospaye, we decided on the characteristics on family that they would want or have experienced to find a common understanding when we talk about being a family. The Lakota concept of tiospaye fits perfectly into this because it means where you are is family and blood relation is a factor. All of these characteristics can and will be reinforced in the classroom setting. This is where we have to be for the next nine months.
I hope that throughout this school year my students will #boldlylove one another in their actions and words.
I have felt so down and so defeated the past couple of days. I thank my crew for speaking love and strength into me! I will not cave to the idea that I will #boldlylove throughout this year. I cannot imagine being okay with the opposite of everything that we have been working on.
I do not want to be average. Average is going through your classes and not knowing the people at the other table. Average is being okay with not knowing the people that you will spend the next nine months with. Average is being okay with not capitalizing on the amazing strengths that each and every person brings into the classroom.
I will #boldlylove
Mr. Dylan Wince
I am not a writer but I am writing.