Friday, October 13, 2017

The Way We Say the Things We Say

I have been thinking a lot lately about language, and becoming more mindful of the way I phrase things during coaching visits and broader education conversations.

During a recent coaching visit, a teacher stopped me during our post-conference and said, "I just have to tell you, when you say 'our students' it makes me feel like you really care about us, and I get why my students are so comfortable with you." Aside from the warm fuzzies I felt from her generous words, I was hit with a realization: we all need a lot more "we," "our," and "us" in our lives.

Life is hard. People are fighting battles everyday; be it anxiety, lack of sleep, relationship issues, dealing with grief, or a myriad of other issues, many of which are battles we fight alone. We try to keep private our struggles to keep up with the pressures of "being ok".

In so many contexts, there is this focus on the individual, and I think it is because we are all working so hard with so little formal acknowledgement of what it takes to do all the things. This is especially true in my experiences in education, and I am finding that is a common challenge for many of us.

Often, in classrooms where management issues prevail, I pay attention to language and there is often a focus on "MY classroom" or "MY time." We've all been there. But I think that simple shifts in language can not only build more cohesive communities in our classrooms, but also get us back to our roots of teaching as teamwork and not a competition.

Life is tough enough. Let's bring joy and togetherness to the forefront of our work.

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