Featured Blog: Seek Respect, not Attention It Lasts Longer
Hi all, it's been awhile!
Sorry for not keeping up with my usual blogs, it kind of got lost with this whole back to school thing. I think I am still wrapping my head around the fact that it is my second year, while simultaneously trying to figure out how I survived last year.
So far, year two has looked a lot different than year one. I came into this year, wanting to start my new 7th graders off with a clean slate, even though I had heard whisperings about the “lively” bunch. Reminding myself that they are a new bunch, new quirks, new needs, and new personalities.
As the first 6 weeks of school comes to an end, I’m thinking “lively” is probably the understatement of the year. I’m beginning to think that this group of 130 is really going to test my behavioral management skills and my patience (which I thought I had a lot of… until I met these chillins)! They are loud, boisterous, and are still unsure about where to draw the line. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing group, who are like any 7th graders, just trying to figure out who they are.
I got to thinking, interested in (or obsessed with) what made them different from the last group. My conclusion is that this group has an uncanny amount of self confidence. Confidence that they are the best, the smartest, the funniest, the cutest, the most popular. Because of this confidence, almost all the kiddos want attention. Good, bad or ugly… attention. Attention, not just from me, but from anywhere and anyone.
I think this strive for attention comes from what they and we, are seeing on social media. How many likes, views, comments, snaps, or DM’s they can get. With the even more irritating question of, what will get them more? Unfortunately, they are growing up in a world where self-promotion is the way to get friends and get attention. They are living in a world where they believe that the limelight is the only light worth seeking and that attention is better than respect.
As a teacher, I never thought I would have to compete with a 6” by 3” phone, that tells them that their self worth is measured by the 1,289 friends they have on social media. How does one teacher, compete by saying not all attention is good attention when 1,289 other people are saying the opposite. How do I model all the positive things these amazing students could do with positive attention, when the posts, videos and pictures say the opposite.
No wonder they all want attention at school. They want to be the person they are online, the one liked and viewed by everyone else (regardless of if it’s during my very well planned and thought out lesson). Maybe now I found my answer to why they shout, stand, dance, or rap during my lesson, the attention is the priority, not science. Nevertheless, it's important for me and for others to show them their self-work and attention in person. And maybe, we can be a step to a light they haven’t yet seen.