I flipped through a book called Loving our Kids on Purpose the other day. The title drew me in because I am always interested in the idea of being intentional with our actions with kids. While I don’t have any children as my own, the premise of the book struck close to me because it is all about building a heart connection with our children and teaching them to manage the freedom they’ve been given in their life. This was important lesson I learned this year with my students. I had to build a close connection with my students and I teach them to navigate their education and responsibility given to them.
I give my students a lot of freedom in my class. I shape my teaching around their ideas, curiosities, and needs. It is not about giving them what they want however. If that were the case, they would have skipped math class, drawn with Sharpie on each other, and taken a nap. It isn’t about saying “NO”. It’s about redirecting and teaching them, while respecting the unique individuals they are. It’s about helping them learn how to manage their freedom as learners and citizens of our classroom. It requires me to be attentive to my students and seize those teachable moments when they occur. My students did not choose me as their teacher but I chose to become a teacher. I needed to make a choice to love my students the way they deserved.