What happened today?

Weeks One and Two
September 21, 2010, 8:43 pm
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September 8, 2010, 1:19 am
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Are you afraid of anything?  I am! I am deathly afraid of bats. I freak out when I see one outside, and usually head straight to the house when I see one.  I remember when I was little we had a lot of bats get in our old farm house, and I was always the one hiding under the first piece of furniture I could find screaming like I was in a horror movie! I recently had a bat in my house. I was hysterical! My heart rate started racing, my legs did not want to work and I could not think!  I got under the table…then it hit me. I have to get this bat out of my house. I started with a pep talk to myself, ” I am a science teacher, I have had several pythons draped around my neck, surely this little bat is nothing!” I thought I had convinced myself that I could do this and as soon as I crawled out from the table, there it was swooping towards me! I was a prisoner under my table! I could see my phone and was able to get in and out fast enough to get the phone to call my dad! After he stopped laughing he did come to help. He lives 7 minutes from my house, but I felt like it took him an hour!

As I sat under my table I started thinking about how everyone is afraid of something…maybe not as silly as my fear of bats, but we all have something that we are scared of.  I started thinking about kids, and how many of my students express that they are afraid of different things. Some children are afraid of what will happen when they get home, of school, being embarrassed, bullies, bugs…the list is goes on forever. As I sat there, shaking, I realized that I needed to be more compassionate when my students are scared of something.  I started thinking about the students that were afraid to write, speak in class, do math,  make friends or scared of their teacher. I thought about those teachers that say they want their kids to be afraid of them so they behave. Being afraid is a miserable feeling! I felt embarrassed that I could not handle this on my own, I felt like I was a failure and overwhelmed. I am sure students have these same emotions when they are afraid. How can anyone learn with all that going on in their head?

I have always concentrated on making my students feel safe the first few weeks of school. I want them to feel comfortable taking risks. I believe that getting to know each other the first weeks of school is crucial for a successful year. If I find out what students are afraid of I can help be there for them to help students feel supported. After the bat incident I realized this is even more important. I was having trouble breathing, so I am sure trying to learn something at this point would be next to impossible until the fear subsided.  I want my students to feel safe at school, so they can learn and be successful!

As much as I hate bats, I am glad this did happen. I can see that I need to really get to know my students. Maybe the reason a student is struggling has to do an emotion that is getting in the way of learning. If I do not take the time to find out what my students’ passions and fears are I may never find a way to engage them so they can learn.

As for the bats..humor helps me get through it! My family loves to tease me about my fear of bats. I even have a “Bat Motel” sign my sister put on my house…and I have slept with a tennis racket ever since!

First Day!
September 7, 2010, 6:05 pm
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