1. Scott Jantzen

    Hi George,

    Great reminder to stop and take time to spend with students. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the "tasks" and forget to get into classes and hallways and meet with students. Thanks for the post.

  2. Wow George! Thanks for this. Sometimes we just need to stop and realize how good things really are! The best part of my day has become when I can connect with a student is some small way. It can be as small as saying hello in the hall to as big as helping a student through a really tough decision. Just know they are there makes doing this job the best!

  3. George,

    I enjoyed this story of how the simple things can mean so much. It is so true that often students bring us the joy and inspiration we need. I don't envy administrators. As a classroom teacher, I spend every day surrounded by kids. We laugh, we learn, and we become a community. Administrators, I suppose, have those same opportunities on a larger scale, but with so many responsibilities. Whether teacher or administrator, it's moments like you described that remind us of why we do what we do.

    My first year of teaching I was in a 6th grade class. My training was in mostly K-4 so I was a bit out of my league. The year was hard. Very hard. There was a student that would write notes on the side of her paper to me. She'd make smiling faces for me to see. It was as if she was saying "Hang in there, you can do it." She doesn't realize how much her bit of time helped me to find the strength to continue to work to do the best I could do — or maybe she does. Sometimes I think I might not be teaching today if she didn't help bring sunshine and hope to my first year.

    Of course you bring up another great point — coloring fixes most everything!


    • George

      I miss that element so much with students. They really are the best part of our school and makes such a difference to be around them. I often think that the impact is back and forth, but we do not let our students know that enough. It is important that we do 🙂

  4. Kimberley Engler

    How amazing to connect with a teacher(who knew what you needed today) and to have such a connection with the kids in our school. This is the perfect example of building relationships, and trust, and exactly why I love having my kids at our school.


  5. Greg M

    What a great story. You are so right about caring for students, I find it the greatest reward. I had a chance to help a student today find a program where he will be successful. It wasn't intentional, I had never met him before, but he was clearly in need of an advocate and someone to explain the rules and laws of his newly adopted country. I can't think of day, recently, when I've felt quite as good as I did today when I came home. Despite the fact I stayed an hour later than I wanted, I was starving (missed lunch) and had just been on my way home when I accidentally met him. I believe that he will now become that contributing member of society that maybe would have been a lot harder under the situation in which he found himself. Feeling successful will do that for anyone. I wish I could find students more interested in colouring but in high school it's a little more difficult, but caring can give the same rewards no matter the age level! What a great story you have here.

    • George

      I think with high school students, I found that just talking with them and being yourself makes all the difference to both them and yourself. I am proud to say that many of my former high school students and myself are still connected. In fact I saw two of them last night! I always treated them like people instead of students and it makes all the difference.

  6. George,

    I enjoyed your post so much, that I decided to share it with our entire district. It really is amazing how life can become so complicated because of the self imposed expectations we set for ourselves. The bottom line is that relationships with our students,colleagues and families matter most. We all have been blessed in many ways by those who know us best and know how best to help us in our time of need. Thank you for being so transparent in your learning.

    • George


      What a huge compliment! I am honoured that you would think that highly of something I wrote that you would share it with others. That means a lot to me.

  7. Carolyn Jensen

    Coloring with kids is therapeutic! That was one of my early lessons in teaching. While new initiatives, busy schedules, and innovation are exciting (and necessary in education),sometimes life calls for the simpler things. I'm glad you took some time for yourself.


    • George

      Weird…I work with a Carolyn Jensen. She is slowly becoming a prolific blogger. Related? 😉

  8. I absolutely love this blog post, George! You show the importance of connecting with students, and without a doubt, this child felt just as wonderful about this bonding time as you did. I'm sure that this time together made both of your days!


    • George

      Thanks Aviva! It was a great moment in the week for me and much needed 🙂 Hope you had a great week with the kids!

  9. Connie Naylor

    My children like to say that I spent most of my life in kindergarten – actually I spent nearly 25 years there out of my 35 year career in public education. The most important thing I learned in kindergarten that it's all about the relationships – it's about being present for children – about listening, doing, meeting them on their level. Once the relationship blooms, the learning begins. So often we have put the cart before the horse pushed by busy lives, testing, standards. We forget that what's important is the person who is growing in your classroom. Over the years my students have reached back to me – what they remember are all those nurturing time – the nature walks, the special days, the simple times we all had together – no student has ever returned to me with memories of testing or standards based instruction. It's the relationship that nurtured the learning. Now I pass that reminder on to teachers as I prepare them to teach a rigorous math curriculum – I ask them their most important job – the answer should be to get kids to love math and learning about it – that happens through relationships!

    • George

      You said it all. It doesn't matter what we teach, but it always matters that we connect. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • nancy wimbush

      Thank you for your thoughts. Students always come back to me with those ‘big idea’ memories that made a real difference to them. How powerful is teaching? Fostering that love of learning and mathematics is truly the key when you provide the learning climate. Relationships indeed Rock:)

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