- Stop putting much pressure on yourself. Once you have stopped, then you can truly start.
- The highest standard we can have is meeting students where they are.
- When it comes to achieving higher standards, we must know what motivates and encourages students, and how they understand as well as process things.
As we know, the past year has been crazy. We have been constantly worried about how we are going to fit everything in. What resources do our students have? How do we teach with what we have? What will we do to meet the standards that we have? How are we ensuring our students aren’t falling behind?
I have heard some form of each one of these over and over again.When it comes to achieving higher standards, we must know what motivates students, encourages students, and how they understand as well as process things. Click To Tweet
What I want to tell each and everyone one of you is to stop.
Stop thinking so hard. Stop making it so complicated.
And stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Stop requiring so much out of yourself.
Once you have stopped, you can then truly start.
What do I mean? I mean we have gotten way out in front of ourselves with all that we must do and have forgotten much of what we need to do. Now, I’m not saying we are doing a bad job by any means. I’m saying we need to simplify.
Think about it. How many learning styles are there? Can you tell me what your students’ learning languages are? These have been broken down many ways over the years, but this is how I look at them.
- Verbal – These learners talk or write it out.
- Auditory – Music can make a difference with these learners.
- Visual – They want to observe (pictures, diagrams, images).
- Physical – These learners want to get involved by touching and moving.
- Social – Groups are amazing for these learners to communicate and collaborate.
- Solitary – They prefer to work alone.
- Logical – These learners are your problem solvers.
Put 20 students in a class and I will almost guarantee you will have at least one of each of them. As a whole, we have focused so much on what we are missing, we have often neglected where we have excelled. It’s easy to support our students’ learning languages when we are face to face and have no restrictions. Given that we have also been given so many platforms, initiatives, and programs by districts and education departments, it makes this much harder.
You see, for me, the highest standard we can have is to meet our students right where they are.
We learn to speak their learning language. We become an educational Rosetta Stone. This is the highest standard for me. So many times we want to plan the curriculum before we do anything else. I think this is backward. We must make the connections and learn their languages so that we may then plan the curriculum.
I cannot travel to France and speak to everyone if I have not first learned any of their language. But if I spend time learning and connecting, I can then communicate, which allows for a much better process between myself and anyone else I run into.
I do not believe any of this is intentional by any educators. Again, we have so much pushed down to us, it is so hard to keep up. For the leaders out there, it is our job to make sure our teachers have the time to learn to communicate, and that we are allowing them to do that. This communication is the key to support. It sets up every other stage we can hope to achieve.
When it comes to achieving higher standards, we must know what motivates students, encourages students, and how they understand as well as process things.
This allows the instruction to flow and the curriculum to be enhanced.
Don’t worry about where you are. When you make that connection, the curriculum and instruction become much easier.
I know, this is harder to do online, and I get it. How do you do it? Have you asked your students what they would like to do? We had a college spirit challenge day, and I dressed up in my favorite school’s colors (Mississippi State University, my alma mater).
I had on a pair of special pants though. I didn’t show them until the very end. As you can see, they are very colorful (my son desperately wanted to be in the picture).
This was the highlight of the day. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it made so many laugh and helped us all have fun. It does not take much, but it does mean so much when we take that moment to connect. It’s ok if the lessons get behind. Why? Because the connections we make will allow us to catch up as we understand our students and they are in tune with us.
About Taylor Armstrong
My name is Taylor Armstrong. I have an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University and a graduate degree from Western Governors University. I’m currently getting my Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.
I have been in either higher education or secondary education for 16 years now. I have worked at two universities and three school districts in various roles. My background is in Educational Psychology, Ed Tech, and Leadership. I am currently the Assistant Director of Technology at Vestavia Hills City Schools. I was the Technology Director at my previous school district, and the Coordinator or Academic Support at the University of Montevallo before that. I’m also a former baseball and football coach.
I have four children, Emma, Lydia, Riley, and Deuce, and a lovely wife named Leslie. I created a cause call Be The Compass (#bethecompass) that strives to help others lead, show others how to find their direction in life, empower others to achieve, and creates a community of uplifting and helping each other. And I love kids and being able to connect with them. That’s a big part of the Be The Compass cause. If we can adjust their course an inch now, we will see miles of difference in their future.