Empathy and Classroom Community

“I’m just…over it.” I feel like I’ve heard and uttered this phrase more in the last 18 months than perhaps all the time before. No matter your persuasion when it comes to the events at hand, as an educator and a human there’s been plenty of things to be “over.”

This is an opportunity. Remember how this feels.

I’m not the most empathetic person; As a third grade teacher, I must work at doing better with this. ‘m committed to creating a student centered classroom. The kind where we build an authentic community of learners; we encourage each other in each step of growth.

How many times do our students “over it?”

Academically overwhelmed by: math mistakes, lack of reading stamina/interest, technology problems, lost assignments, broken pencils, boring lessons, loud lessons.

Relationally overwhelmed by: recess conflict, relationships at home, teacher assumptions, classroom seating charts, a teacher who doesn’t understand me.

Physically overwhelmed by: fluorescent lights, sitting still, holding a pencil, clicking/dragging/double-clicking, the amount of time until lunch.

How many times could a student legitimately say, “You know what? I. am. over it.”

If I remember this feeling, I can empathize. I can allow my students to begin the process of facing this feeling and remember that throwing a fit is not the most helpful response; but I’ve thrown a fit or two. And the time to learn that it’s not helpful, is not often mid-fit. Together, we can practice reflecting.

And maybe, together as a classroom community, we can practice mindfulness.

Think about the challenge.

What is it? Why is it hard? What do I call this feeling?

Set it in perspective.

Have I had to do this before? Have others? How could it be better/worse? What have I already overcome?

Pause and make a choice.

Can I continue now? In 5 minutes? Tomorrow?

As educators, we have overcome so much. There is plenty to do in the days ahead; I’m grateful that I feel ready tackle these challenges with others!

As I prepare for a new year in the third grade classroom, I wanted to write a series of posts around the idea of student-centered classrooms and learning. This is post number 2.

One thought on “Empathy and Classroom Community

Add yours

  1. Quitting or giving up has always been a choice. Not a good choice, but a choice. Now is the time to talk about perseverance. How can we push through it? Is it a day by day approach? This morning? This afternoon? Or smaller increments?
    Communities of empathy . . .
    Communities of support . . .
    Not going it alone


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