Saturday, August 31, 2013

5 phrases to say to kids every day!

Student success is the most important outcome in schools.  We want kids to be successful.  Here are 5 sayings that Kids should hear every day from us as Educators:

1. Good morning, How are you?  Greet students every morning with a smile, handshake/fistpound/or even a High Five.  We don't know how that one positive voice will effect that kid.  They may have something horrible going on at home and they know that when they come to school you will be there to care for them.

2. I'm here for you.  Please let me know how I can help you.  Students need to know that you are there for them.  They want to know that you care for them and are willing to go the extra mile for them.  Just by letting them know you are here is sometimes enough.

3.Great Job. I knew you could do it.  I bet you will be better next time.  Encourage kids.  Always be positive.  Even when you are giving out consequences you want to be positive and look at it as a growing opportunity.

4. Hey, I like your shirt/dress/new hair cut/shoes.  Recognize--Open your eyes--Again if you notice something that is important to them you have them!  Relationships!

5. _______________________ I left this blank for a reason.  Sometimes you need to close your mouth and just LISTEN!  With TV's, computers, cell phones, facebook, etc... kids don't just sit and talk with their parents as much anymore.  We almost all are guilty of it.  Just listen and you may hear something that you have been looking for.  


Have a Great Labor Day Weekend!  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hold that Rope!

Envy.  Thats a tough word to swallow for some people.  They struggle with the fact that other people have what they want.  Others have everything while they have nothing.  He/She teaches a class that I really want to be teaching.  I can't believe she has such a nice car, man I want that car!  I wish my clothes were as nice as hers.  Why is he so good at Basketball?  I wish I was smart like him.   These are all things we as educators may have said or heard a student say at one time or another.  Envy fills each and every one of us and with Social Media, Television, etc., it becomes harder and harder to empty yourself of these thoughts.  It effects all of us in a different way.  Many it may send to depression, others it will send into anger or even jealousy.  It effects the way we learn, grow and associate with others.  

As educators we have to begin to understand who we are before we can understand who are students are.  We have to realize that we were made a certain way, we all have certain strengths and weaknesses.  We all learn in different ways and teach differently.  Daily reflection is key in developing the understanding of oneself.  Being truthful with yourself and also having someone else to help hold you accountable is so important.  Many times that other person can really tell you the truth, but you must be able to trust that person. 

Being honest with yourself and looking at the "Man in the Mirror"  is the hardest thing for many people to do.  I learned many years ago while playing football at Benedictine College a term that I think applies to all people in tough times, times where teachers/leaders are trying to find themselves. The saying is Hold The Rope.  No matter how it burns your hand, how much it hurts, how hard it is and how much you want to quit- Hold that Rope.  Your students deserve it! Learn who you are and be the better you for the Students you teach!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Being positive is contagious

Every Thursday night I meet with some great friends around a fire pit and we talk about our week, what has gone right and what we might need a little extra help with.  One of the most talked about topics is the workplace. One conversation in particular has stuck with me.  Everyone has rough days at work.  All of us have days where we would rather stay in bed than go to work.  There are people at work we don't want to see, don't want to talk with and definitely dont want their negative vibes rubbing off on us.
Negativity is contagious if you let it be--Being positive is also!  My good buddy Shaughn talked that evening about his struggles to stay positive about work and keep a good attitude.  He then talked about someone he heard talking on the radio about each and every day YOU have the choice of how your day will go.  YOU have the choice to be positive in your workplace or negative.

Being Positive can be contagious.  CHOOSE to greet that negative person in your building with a smile and a "Hello." If you are positive and friendly with people they will be the ones that are uncomfortable.  Kill them with kindness.  The positive vibes will spread throughout the building and rub off on the rest of your staff.
Each and every day set your mind right.  Find out what it will take to put you in the right frame of mind.  Is it a good song on the radio?  A good morning workout?  Or just a good walk in the hallways.

Reflection is learning-Positive Behavior is contagious. Reflect each and every day, clear your mind and You will be that positive person that everyone will want to be around.

Please follow me on Twitter @Jfuhrman3932

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Trusting one another

When observing my own two little kids this week, I began to think about trust.  Its amazing how much trust kids have in adults.  My kids trust that I will take care of them when they are sick.  They trust that I will be there to comfort them when they fall.  When they need a drink or a snack, I will be there to give them what they need.  Where does the trust change?  Is it when they are in high school?  College?  Adults?
In a school you must have trust.  Teachers must trust administrators, students must trust teachers, teachers must trust students.  If one does trust the other than relationships fail to be built and issues begin to arise.  Learning can only take place when trust is involved.
It starts with me as a leader. If my teachers cannot trust me then they cannot effectively do their job. Here are three ways that I have found teachers can build that trust with their leader:

1. Be Honest
The worst thing a leader can do is be dishonest with their people. One lie can ruin an entire school, company or whatever type of business you are in charge of.  If you are honest, even if it may not be what they want to hear they will begin to build trust.

2. Admit when you don't know something or are wrong.
Again this can go along with honesty.  If an employee asks a question and you don't know the answer, say you don't know the answer!  Don't make up some answer that could be right or might be right, just say you'll have to get back with them.  If you are wrong-Admit it and move on.  This can be one of the most difficult things for a person to do.

3. Trust in them
If you are a great leader you will have trust in your employee even before they have earned it.  Give them responsibility and if they fail, give them an opportunity to earn it back.  The more you trust in them most people will prevail and pull through.

Thanks for Reading--

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Communication, Relationships, and Community

*Learning to Communicate

This seems like a very simple concept.  I have an almost 2 year old son(August), Maxx who is working through this process right now.  He is putting words together, using his hands to signal things he wants and definitely using his vocal cords to tell us what he doesn't want.  As he grows older he will put together sentences and be able to articulate what he wants and when.  As toddlers advance to teenagers they begin to expand vocabulary and even throw in words they shouldn't use(Normally words they have learned from home or from friends).  As they grow into young adults and beyond they learn to structure their sentences to use persuasion and sell themselves to businesses, parents, community members, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc.  I feel however that we really are missing something when it comes to communication and teaching our kids to communicate.

Communication is the key to building relationships. Building relationships is the key to building the communities that surround our schools.  One of the most powerful things a person can do is look the other person that they are talking with in the eye.  Be honest, head up and be proud of who you are and what you can do.  Many times when I speak to students, the first thing I tell them is to be honest.  Regardless of what a student did or did not do-the consequence may not change, but when they leave the room more often than not I will be their advocate because they were honest with me.  Learning to communicate with eyes and honesty will gain them more respect than no eye contact and constant lies.

Once proper communication is learned(it must be a continuous learning) then relationship building can begin. Just to point out how important it is to me,  I have been involved in many interviews in the past 4 years with prospective teachers.  Normally one of the first questions that we ask them is what are the characteristics of an excellent teacher.  Honestly, the only answer I am looking for is that an excellent teacher can build a great relationship with kids.  After that, they have me hooked!

At Basehor Linwood High School we have a phrase called, The Bobcat Way.  We talk about relationships, communication, loving others, treating others the way we want to be treated.  If you are ever in our building and someone offers to hold the door for you, or help you when you are lost, or possibly even help carry items for you, or by gosh just shake your hand when you enter the building-Ask them why they do that and hopefully the answer you will get is, "It's the Bobcat way.  That's what we do here."

So I guess as I move forward with continuing to teach my son to communicate my focus will be on relationships.  Continuing to model for him how to treat people with love, be honest and be a part of that community that can grow around a school district.  (He is getting better I promise!) So parents, grandparents, and family members, take some time from the computer, tv, phone, etc...and TALK to your kids.  Learning how to communicate can be the key and success to their future.  

Dates to Remember
August 5th, 6th-Enrollment at BLHS
August 5th-New Staff will report
August 8th-Opening Convocation for all Staff
August 14th-First day for New students and Freshman
August 15th--All Students first day
August 26th--Back to School Night

Here are some other great articles to read(And some great twitter follows!)

1. The Colorful Principal by Ben Gilpin @benjamingilpin
2. Leadership Tips by Justin Tarte  @justintarte

Currently Reading: Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker @toddwhitaker