We teach people how to treat us.
There is a man running a local coffee shop who gives me the impression he doesn’t like his business very much. One time when I asked if he could swish out my reusable cup before filling it with chai, he opened the cup’s lid and said, “That’s disgusting. Ugh!” and stomped off to rinse it out. If a customer has a special request he furrows his brow and says, “Why would you want to do that?” He’s impatient if customers aren’t sure what they want and I’ve heard him say, “See? I’m right!” to his employees.
I go to the coffee shop because it’s the perfect location for me to work. The chai tastes great, the view is lovely and the wifi is reliable. As for the owner? He’s trained me well: my cup is always washed, I know what I want and I don’t waste his time with special requests. I think about him when I reflect on the quote, “We teach people how to treat us.” Because he’s done that; he’s disciplined me on how to behave.
While he may get my compliance, coffee shop man doesn’t get my best. He doesn’t see my smile or hear some funny quip about my day. No new beverage possibilities will come from a special request. Yes, my coffee shop man reminds me how I don’t want to teach writing. I know I can get students to comply, but what I’m really interested in is getting students to give their best. What that means for me as a teacher is I need to rinse out some figurative coffee cups–that takes time and it’s messy. Perhaps I need to confer about aligning verb tenses or choosing precise words several times. I also have to accept special requests. Caroline wants to do her opinion piece in graphic novel form on why Gangnam Style trumps the Harlem Shake. And of course I’m going to need to be patient at times and wrong at others and learn from those experiences.
How are you teaching students to treat you? How do they teach you to treat them? This week we’re highlighting features on literacy routines, which do so much to establish expectations early in the year. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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Here are two different takes on routines at the start of the school year from the Choice Literacy archives.
Every routine can’t be introduced at the same time early in the year, and with second and third graders, it may be best to wait to introduce writing notebooks. Aimee Buckner gives criteria for judging if the time is right in When Are Students Ready for Writers’ Notebooks?:
How to integrate observation and formative assessment into routines during the early days of school is tackled by Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak in Easing Into Assessments During the First Six Weeks of School:
Mary Lee Hahn captures that feeling of time speeding up this week in her poem “A Teacher Turns the Calendar Page from July to August“:
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Katie DiCesare explores Routines to Build Independence Early in the School Year, including advice to give to parents to strengthen the home/school connection around expectations for independence:
This week’s video is a quick take from Katie DiCesare’s first-grade classroom, showing how she uses the tune “Come On Over” as a transition tool:
Ann Marie Corgill provides some guiding questions to help teachers figure out priorities in their schedules in her essay Daily Routines: Finding Time for What Matters:
Ellie Gilbert shares an activity that is a terrific way to get to know your new students in “My Ideal Bookshelf”: Books That Educate Us. While Ellie works with high school students, this activity can be adapted for the younger grades, and works just as well as a closure activity for summer programs too:
You can visit the Community Building section of the site for dozens of resources focused on routines that foster a sense of belonging when your students are new and all year long:
That’s all for this week!