Thursday, July 31, 2014

Warm Hands, Warm Hearts

your barista, Suzanne

The high is a chilly 84 degrees here in Texas.  Maybe that's not reason enough to bust out the scarves and sweaters, but perhaps it's reason enough to listen to this heart warming tale.

The best teacher-student relationships are forged outside of our limited class time.  Thinking about this truth, I considered how I could spend additional times with my kiddos.  It was this desire that created Mocha Mornings.  

During the winter months, I printed out a monthly calendar and allowed students to sign up for a Mocha Morning appointment.  This was informal, unstructured time that allowed me to spend one-on-one time where I normally would not have had that opportunity.  

I would try to remind students of their appointment the class period before.  On their designated morning, they would come in 30 minutes before school started.  We would walk together to the Keurig in the teacher's lounge and make a steaming cup of hot chocolate.  We would talk on the way there and back to my classroom.  In our classroom sanctuary, students could talk to me about anything- college, class, friends...  I didn't have an agenda or expectation.  We simply talked.  When explaining this initially, my kiddos had a hard time wrapping their minds around this. "We can talk about ANYTHING?!"

I noticed a marked difference in students before and after this experience.  It helps students see you in a different light.  "You mean to tell me that you have a home...away from this school...where you live...and watch TV?!"  You'll also be surprise at students that want to sign up.  If you have a particular student you'd like to spend time with but that is reluctant to sign up, tell them that you'd like for them to sign up.  It's still an option, but now they feel that you have made an extra effort to seek them out.  

Even though I love my time in the mornings, these times generally got my morning off on a positive start.  It sent two people off to their school day with warm hands and warm hearts.

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