Over the weekend, I was reading the Reader's Digest article "Looking Out for The Lonely" by Glennon Doyle Melton from MOMASTERY.COM. She told of an experience one teacher took to stop violence at its root and get to know her students. She approached the teacher because of some homework her son was receiving was difficult for her to understand. The teacher invited her to come and sit in during a tutoring session. They started discussing what shaped little hearts to be contributors to a larger community--and how they dreamed that those communities would be made up of individuals who are kind and brave above all. Then the teacher shared with her about her Friday rituals: Every Friday she asked her students to write down names of four children with whom they'd like to sit with the following week. Her students knew these request may or may not be honored. She also ask the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots were privately submitted to her. After students left for the day she would get them out and study them. She looked for patterns: Who is not getting requested by anyone else? Who can't think of anyone to request? Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated? Who had a million friends last week and none this week? The teacher was looking for the lonely children in her class who are struggling to connect with others and our falling through the cracks of the class's social life. She discovered whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers and is pinned down who's being bullied and who is doing the bullying. She takes an X-ray of her classroom. She was able to identify the children who needed a little help, who needed adults to step in and teach them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts. Through patterns this teacher found the codes of disconnection in her class. So, I wonder who at Gus Garcia is willing to go the extra mile with me and connect a little further with their students to look for the lonely children in their classrooms.
Melton, G. (2014, June). Looking out for the lonely. Reader's Digest, Vol 18, (42), 28-31.