Teachers who care show concern for students’ emotional and academic well-being. They develop supportive, personalized relationships with students, cultivate an emotionally safe environment, and respond consistently to students’ social, emotional, and academic learning needs.
Just before Kevin Kooienga left ISB he shared this resource with me. The iMessage. It has been a game-changer.
When students find that their peers don’t behave according to their expectations, the emotions can take over. Feelings of upset can be overwhelming and then it is difficult to be motivated to do school work.
For a teacher faced with upset students coming back from recess, there are two lose/lose choices to make.
- help students to deal with the issue which eats into class time and forces the rest of the class to wait
- ignore the issue (and hopefully get to it later) and find that the lesson is undermined
use the iMessage.
BENEFITS: The iMessage supports students in finding the language to articulate their emotions. They own and share their feelings and their voice is heard. It is empowering and helps them to shed victimhood. And the offending party (who is listening to the iMessage) begins to see how their words and actions have affected another person.
PLUS: It’s very quick. There is usually never a need to talk beyond the iMessage.
I feel sad when you take my highlighters without asking because I couldn’t find them. I want you to ask next time.
I feel angry when you bossed everyone in the game because I don’t like being told what to do. I want you to listen to other people.
I feel bad when you called me an idiot because that’s really rude. I want you to apologize.
The first time a student uses the iMessage, it can feel a little strange but they do get the hang of it. I have heard students say to other students, you need to do the iMessage. They see the iMessage as a useful strategy to work through an issue. I keep thinking that at some point in time, students are going to get sick of the iMessage but at the moment, it is working for me and it is working for them.