Everyone in education knows Harry and Rosemary Wong. Their famous book, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, is one of the books every practicing teacher has read or heard about in coursework. They believe the classroom's number one problem comes from procedures and routines.

It is a solid foundation for building an organized classroom where students know expectations, understand what is happening, and complete everything the same way each day.

Classrooms have changed. However, the need for this solid approach to procedures and routines is still the best approach to a solid foundation for an organized classroom focused on teaching and learning.

The changes we see in our classrooms are always a reflection of our society. Looking through history, we will see the influences from society in our schools. What are the discipline issues educators would say they face? I want to ask all of them to please share their number one discipline problem. Will you make a comment on the discipline issue which is the number one problem you face?

There are many ways to support our educational system—Locally, get involved actively. Many times schools will ask for engagement. “Please join us with a Family engagement night of reading.” “Please join us at Family Math night.” These are amazing and fun to be part of with your children, but being involved as a volunteer, member of a committee, holding an educational position like a school board member, or being involved with programs at the school has a more significant impact on the overall educational system. Schools, homes, and communities must collaborate with a focus on education and children. How can all of these resources work together to do what is best for the whole child? Many will provide their solutions, but it is up to the local community, parents, and school district to take a stand on what is best for the children involved with their system.

Lack of respect for authority, improving the social-emotional needs of students, understanding the purpose of education, and providing support to individual students are what I would like to provide solutions for home, school, and community. My Two-Rule philosophy helps to give a foundation to build what is needed to succeed not only in school but in life.

The foundation of the philosophy is about choices. Students learn about the importance of helping themselves and others to feel good and safe where they are. When you understand the thinking process in this way, solutions are seen first, and problems begin to shrink. It is in asking the right questions, providing the answer, and learning responsibility for our choices.

New Year beginnings

The season has changed to winter, and the cold air is with us now. The fields have long been harvested and are resting until it is time for planting in the spring. I have often compared teaching to farming. Both work hard in planting seeds, caring, nurturing, and bringing in a harvest each year.

Students are returning from a break, and teachers are still working hard in planting seeds, nurturing, and applying additional support to help students develop and grow.

Improvement in academic achievement is realized with an increase in motivation and engagement. (Brandsford, 2000; Fredricks, 2014; Hattie, 2008; Schlechty, 2011). There are many books to advise, suggest, and guide us in ways to improve motivation and engagement. As teachers know, there are many times it is difficult to maintain, but not impossible when we can find the right rhythm to our teaching.

We can begin the rhythm with students returning by refreshing our minds to the routines and procedures and welcoming them to school. Let’s start with these:

As we begin the first week of January of 2023, work on getting back in the rhythm of re-teaching routines and procedures and helping everyone feel welcomed back to school. Begin by making efforts to help bring more attention to social-emotional learning by doing a self-check of “how do you feel today?” You can have kids place post-it notes with smiles and sad faces or utilize other ways to show emotions.

Feedback and questioning will be our focus for a few tips as we work on having students gain leadership in their learning pathways.

Motivation is derived from the word 'motive.’ Motives are a person's needs, desires, wants, urges, and reasons to do something. It's a crucial element in setting and attaining objectives. Motivation is one of the driving forces behind human behavior. It fuels competition and sparks social connections. When there is a lack of motivation or no motivation, it can lead to depression and mental health issues.

I found myself facing issues with motivation. I cannot have problems with motivation; I help provide motivation. It happens to all of us! Motivation is like a garden; you need to plant the seeds, care for them and when you find weeds, pull them!

I realized I had too many weeds growing in my garden of life. I have always surrounded myself with many positives; I did not notice the little things trickling into my little corner of the world. If you are not paying attention, the negativity grabs hold.

Negativity comes in little ripples through news, ads, articles, social media, and others. `Then when life adds a few little things, you find yourself unmotivated.

How do you change your motivation status? Change your routines, refocus and take time for yourself!

When you find yourself unmotivated, take time to recharge.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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