Last week, I flew to the Netherlands for a meeting. I travelled with United. Somewhat notoriously known for poor or lack of service, I had very low expectations for my flights. Both there and back, my expectations were wildly exceeded. I wasn’t upgraded, the food was no better, the seats no wider or delivering more legroom – everything was ‘standard’ for the class of service I was flying. The thing that was different, was the attitude of the flight attendants. Friendly, chatty, attentive, thoughtful, humorous, kind, inquisitive, helpful. They were all fantastic. So much so that I told them personally and sent a little shout-out to the group via the United contact page – I hope they were recognized by their supervisors!
It is amazing what a difference an attitude can make. I think this is part of the reason why the attitudes are a part of a PYP Curriculum.
As teachers, we see a lot of attitude in our classrooms – some great, some less than stellar, but all interesting and pointing us toward a better understanding of our children. Today, my kids explored Lego Education Simple and Motorized Mechanisms set. For some, this was like entering the promised land. It was Christmas, Easter, Birthdays – all rolled into one. I saw kids bursting with appreciation that they had been given this fabulous opportunity to explore and create. They were committed to pitching in and challenging themselves to succeed. There was courage, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empath, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance all sandwiched in between a Lego-Palooza!
In addition to the curriculum skills in math, science and technology, I was loving seeing the development of the social skills and attitudes that went along with successful Lego construction. Some kids struggled. Some kids flourished. Some wandered in between the two. For some kids, this was their moment. A chance for them to become the expert, the teacher, the go-to-genius, the one who only needed to look at the Lego and have it jump into formation! For some kids, this was their nemesis. The pieces wouldn’t fit, the instructions didn’t work, the whole thing was a hot mess.
So what did I do? I observed. I guided. I looked for ways to invite students to help students. And I loved seeing the kids who find their challenges elsewhere, have a chance to shine and showcase their talents. This is what I love about my job. I spend a lot of time researching the best “this” or the lastest “that” and I know some people might consider it all too much, not worthwhile. To me, finding a balance in my classroom and opening up avenues of success to all students so that everyone gets a chance to be the superhero, is my job. I know I haven’t done that for all of my kids yet – but I’m working on it!
How do you encourage an attitude of enthusiasm within your classroom? How do you look for ways to serve the needs of all students?