Tuesday, February 21, 2012

May 9, 2012... What a day it will be!

This is a guest post by Melissa McLean, KIT 2012 Program Committee representative and teacher... 

The upcoming Knights in Training Conference  for all grade 5 boys in Red Deer Public and Catholic Schools will provide an opportunity for them to connect and reflect about several important and lifelong learning areas: Responsibility, Respect, Understanding and Relationships, and at the root of each of these; HOPE.

During my time teaching boys in Grades 3, 4 and 5, I have learned a lot about who boys are, not just as students, but also as “future men”. These boys are going to one day be the men fixing my car at the garage, working as an engineer at Nova, balancing my finances at the bank, driving in NASCAR, playing in a symphony, selling their art, building houses, playing in an NHL game… (I have big dreams for my students!!!!) Some of the biggest memories that stick out in my teaching career were sparked during an activity in class, a school sports game, a field trip, recess etc. Were any of these moments created during one of my amazing lessons on Creative Writing, Triple digit by double digit multiplication or Canada’s regions?… no-no they weren’t! The memories were sparked because the students and I had created relationships of mutual respect; an understanding that I wanted them to do their best, that each student had responsibility for their own actions and words, and that as their teacher, I had big hopes for their near and distant futures.
I have taught students who fit into the categories of class clown, smarty pants, athlete, scientist, musician, poet, drama king, mime... and the list goes on. I want to share some vignettes about students who left imprints during my teaching career, focusing on the “Grow Boys” 4 directions. My hope is that you re-connect with the inner grade five student you used to be… and reflect on what responsibility, respect, understanding and relationships mean to you.
During a game of kickball I had a boy who was the most competitive boy in class, yet during the game I saw him roll the ball as softly and gently as he could to a student he knows is nervous kicking-because he is conscious of that student’s feelings. 
I had a student who was in tears as they told me about their relationships at home and the hardships they were feeling. 
I had students tell me who their heroes were in a poster project and many of them put their mom or dad as their hero, one put down a doctor who saved his life. 
I had a student who was at his best when creating artwork. He taught a lesson to the class and I saw him literally come to life and “rock it out” as the teacher.
I had students become so motivated when they were able to shoot water from a fire hose at a target, and hear them say “I’m gonna be a fireman when I’m older.” 
I had a student who could build and create things out of random materials in the recycling box and garbage that would actually make me think: how in the world did he think of that and make it work? 
I have had students at an orienteering activity guide me through a forested area because they could read the map WAY better than I could and I never knew they had such amazing spatial awareness. 
I had students play at recess with other students when no one else would because they are "those kinds of guys". 
I have had a student break out into song and start a whole class sing-a-long on a whim. 
I had a student start a 400-page book and be done it no time and then start another 500-page book immediately after; he used words that I needed to look up! Ha ha… 
Were you that student? Were you in that class? Do you have a story like that? You bet you do. I could go on and on, but these are just some imprints those boys had on me and our Grow Boys! Knights in Training Conference 2012 is going to leave some memories with these boys.

The Knights in Training Conference in Red Deer is part of our larger Grow Boys! initiative. We have created a day enriched with activities addressing the developmental needs of boys by accessing local resources in our community to connect with the boys in meaningful ways during focused sessions. I believe that this day will create memories for these boys that will leave an imprint on many of them, and hopefully also on the teachers and significant others in the community that will be involved during the conference.

I encourage you to put the word out to other teachers and more importantly, to people in our community that Grow Boys! and the Knights in Training Conference are providing opportunities for our schools and the community to bridge understanding and build stronger relationships to create respect and responsibility and hope for everyone’s future.

Melissa McLean

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for chiming in Melissa. I too have had those imprints left on me by students... I've been awestruck by the diverse and amazing personal strengths of so many, and I've also had to take the long way home countless times so I could really get my head clear about the realities they faced after being confronted by them.
    Being a teacher is an incredible gift. The opportunities we have to illuminate the strengths and potential of those in our care are sacred. I really appreciate your perspective!