School is Home

While I have always known it, from personal experience, this year made me realize once again just how important school is for our students.  School is a safe place for many students.  The ONLY safe place.

Our students know what to expect, for the most part, from school. They know what to expect from their teachers and classmates.  They know they will be listened to. Their stories will be heard. We will laugh and joke with them.  They know that they can come to any of the adults on staff with any troubles they may have and we will help them. We will listen to them and give them advice. We will also ensure that things that need to be dealt with are dealt with in a reasonable and fair manner.

They know they will be fed at school. They won’t go hungry here.  They know they can come to school at 7:30am for breakfast.   They know where they can go to get a snack for recess and they know the lunch program will provide their lunch.

Students know that they will have the opportunity to do fun things at our school.  During the school day, their teachers plan engaging lessons for them. They plan fun activities throughout the day.  After school, many students are involved in the programs provided to our students through our involvement with Community Schools.  They have been involved with activities from floor hockey, hip hop dance lessons, mentoring by older students, basketball, and many other activities.  For many of our students, this is the only time they would be able to be involved in such wonderful, organized activities.

Students at our school know they are valued.  They are cared for and know it.  They are smiled at, talked with, greeted by name, and hugged at a moments notice.  They know we believe in them (even if we have to tell particular students this every day).   They know that we understand that we all make mistakes.  We are there to help them understand their mistakes and help them make different decisions next time.  They are not afraid when they do something wrong.  They know they are going to be supported to help them with their future decisions.

For many of our students, school is THE safest place in their life.  The only safe place. This was evident in the tears they shed on the last day of school as they said goodbye to their teachers (never-ending tears, for some students).  This was also clear when at 3:30, students could still be found in the school, two hours after early dismissal, helping their teachers clean their rooms and organize their materials.

As I am faced with this important realization about our students, I am also faced with important information about our staff, in turn (of which I was already aware).  We have such a great staff, dedicated to all of our students, willing and able to make school “home” for our students. They are amazing professionals with whom I have been so fortunate to learn from this year.

As strange as it sounds, I hope that the summer goes quickly for those students who need it to.  So they will be back in the safest, most welcoming place in their life.

For all who read this, I hope you realize the impact you have on your students.  You really do make a difference in their lives each and every day. Our role as educators is so important. Essential. Often, school is the ONLY safe place for our students. WE are the only stable adults in their life. WE can be what makes our students resilient.  WE could be the essential component that will make our most struggling students  break the cycle they have lived with their entire life.

Believe it. Live it. Teach and lead with this in the forefront of your mind.

Thanks to you all for making a positive difference.

Here’s a song for you:  You Have Made a Difference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niwmohoLnhk)

About Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am a Principal of an elementary school Langley, BC. Lastly, I am a person who loves photography. I gain so much enjoyment and satisfaction taking photos. I have learned a great deal about photography since I purchased my first dSLR in 2008. There is so much more to learn though! All three of these things help to describe who I am as a person, but also demonstrate my love of learning - nothing is ever stagnant with any of these. I love to learn!
This entry was posted in Connections / Relationships, Family, Instructional Leadership, Lessons Learned, Poverty, Reflection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to School is Home

  1. Joy Kirr says:

    Love the post, Tia.
    Sad, but true. I work in a very fortunate community, but still, this year, I had me 7th grader who said, “I’d rather be in your class all day than at home.” I feel she is still safe at home, yet the encouragement at school, I believe, is more than she receives at home. There are many different types of “safe,” and I feel that one of them is just an emotional state. If children are ignored at home, that, too, is not healthy. W give our students attention – and most crave that, as well. Just saying an extra, “Good morning” with a smile on your face could be enough fuel or the day for some. Ahhh. And that’s why we teach, yes?
    Thanks again for this heart-warming post this morning!
    -@JoyKirr

  2. T. Henriksen says:

    Thanks Joy,

    Yes, that is why we teach. Some just need a few reminders about how important and how powerful our role is. It’s easy to take that for granted. For me, school was my safe place and where I always wanted to be as well. It’s sad that some kids (and more in some schools than others) feel this way, but it is nice to know that they have caring adults to help them grow and mature at school.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate that.
    Tia

  3. Gallit Zvi says:

    Another beautiful blog post, Tia!
    You are so right…for many, school is the best place & we are so lucky to be able to be a part of that!
    Thanks for the reminder.
    🙂 @gallit_z

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Thanks for commenting, Gallit.

      You are very kind. You are so right when you say we are so lucky to be a part of our student’s lives, their growth and their resilience. We must never take that for granted.

      I’m glad to see you blogging some more. Maybe you should join the summer blogging challenge: at least 2 blog posts a week. You can do it! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,
      Tia

  4. Tears. What a beautiful post Tia. We can all be inspired to be more welcoming, inclusive, understanding and caring towards other in other areas of our lives as well. I’d better to get a tissue and wipe up my tears now…

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Thanks, Christine,

      Yes, we all need to realize that we may be one person alone, we can make a huge difference to those around us – even just one of us. Just think of us all collectively!

  5. Pingback: School is Home | Ripples | Scoop.it

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