Sunday, 12 March 2017

Connectedness in class - part 1

As a substitute in primary school I try to follow my own 'rules' about connecting communication. What a challenge! I can hear what the children are thinking when they first see me: "What are YOU doing here today? We don't know you, so ... we will be very creative in resisting you and your rules!" 
What a lovely surprise it was, that Thursday when there was this 'high five' for me initiated by the most creative one in class. Patrick, the most creative one, even added "Sorry, miss, about what just happened."!  What happened wasn't at all trivial and in the afternoon Patrick still found it extremely difficult to deal with me. Strange, new teachers: you can't trust new people. This was what Patrick seemed to think and he sure made me aware of this conviction of his :-) And yet, when I think about the high five and his words I can only smile while remembering him. 
What made Patrick raise his hand inviting me to connect for a split second?

He wanted to thank me. I was looking for him so I could tell him his computer time was ending but I hadn't seen him hiding in a corner very close to the computer he had been working on. So I was searching for him. After some helpful kids told me his secret, I looked again, now under the desks. While I was searching he jumped out of his hiding place and surprise me with a big smile and eyes franticly checking my face: "How is she going to react?". His action first startled me and then made me laugh (very loud because of the effect). 
I think he was afraid I would tell him to move his body asap to his chair and desk, BUT ... I laughed at him and with a ferm shake of his shoulders I told him he would be a very good special agent one day. We agreed he was allowed to have two more minutes before shutting the laptop.
"Yes!!" + hand raising + "Sorry about what just happened" was his response and I loved it! 
"What just happened" wasn't trivial (far from it!) and his actions in the afternoon weren't nice all afternoon, on the contrary. And yet, I remember our high five moment and I smile. Connectedness ... Patrick showed a genuine happy face these few minutes. For Patrick every short positive moment with strangers is very important. Next year will be a challenging year, secondary school has so many more teachers than primary school ... I hope he will remember our mutual genuine positive minutes as a resource: every tough day can have some fine moments.

Smile, Ella
Trainer - writer - life coach - schoolcounsellor - teacher
www.elladejong.com


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