My younger brother struggled throughout school. During his junior year in high school, my family moved from a small town that had fewer than 300 students in the entire high school to a town that had two high schools with more than 1,500 kids. I was sure that my brother was going to get lost among the students and continue to drown when it came to academics and motivation. I assumed that if he couldn’t figure out how to “get it right” in a small school, he wouldn’t be able to survive in a high school that was almost the size of the town he was moving from. However, something unexpected happened. He started to excel. At first I thought it must be an accident. Perhaps he was signed up for all elective classes. As I spoke with him, however, he told me he was enrolled in a typical junior case load with all core classes. So how could this be? The answer ended up being pretty simple. He had signed up for the marching band. Yes, the marching band. He came to develop a strong relationship with the band director, and through this mentorship, he found his way successfully through school. My brother bought into their vision and mission, which helped him turn around his academics and become more motivated. He was finally able to see the connection between his work in the classroom and life beyond the walls of school. I joked recently with his old band director that he saved my brother, but it really wasn’t a joke. He saved him with the relationship he built and fostered with him on a daily basis.
Close your eyes and think back to when you were a student. Did you ever work harder for one teacher than another? What made this teacher different? These were questions that my staff and I dug into a few months back as we worked through Eric Jensen’s book, Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind. The discussion and commonality was astonishing. Each staff member in the room could clearly articulate one specific teacher that motivated her and pushed her to become better as a person—in and out of the classroom. Think back. . . . I’m sure you might find the same to be true for you. (Read More)
See the compete original article at : http://inservice.ascd.org/doing-your-best-work-by-starting-with-relationships/