Should I Share with my 8th graders....?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by historyteacher09, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. historyteacher09

    historyteacher09 Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2017

    I am a new 8th grade teacher in a great district, with great kids! I love my job and truly love my students.

    Every Friday I do something called "Feel Good Friday". I find a news/sports inspirational story clip to show at the start of class. I use it as a conversation starter and to get to know more about my 8th graders lives. I also sometimes use it as a writing prompt with questions like- who is a role model that has impacted your life?, what challenges have you faced and how did you overcome those challenges? ect...

    Well, I tried to share how school was a challenge for me when I was their age and really until/ through college. It was true and I feel like it related to my students... however, I have some more real stuff I could share with them but I am not sure if I should. My dad passed away in a car accident when I was 15 years old. It impacted my life greatly because my dad and I were very close. I would obviously share the positives I have found in that. I would make sure to highlight the good that has come from a bad situation.

    Is this something that is too much to share with them on one of my Feel Good Fridays? Is it sharing too much? I would do it because I truly have a deep desire to relate to my students and let them know they can come to me with anything.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jan 25, 2017

    That's a little deep for a "Feel Good Friday" in 8th grade, I think. Maybe if authentically it came up in conversation, and a student asks about your parents or something, then I would answer. I'd focus the "Feel Good Friday" more on the kids and less on you.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 25, 2017

    Yeah, agreed. Keep your private details private.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2017

    I think opening up to them might be okay to some extent, but just be very weary of how far you go with that. 8th grade is also a slightly different area than upper elementary, so keep that in mind with my thoughts...

    I am blatantly honest with my students, fourth graders, about some of what I faced as growing up: I'll share how I repeatedly failed an AR test on a historical fiction book in 3rd or 4th grade, about my own challenges in organization (one time, my desk was emptied into a trash bag and I stayed home to organize it ... haha), about my challenges with confidence as I grew up. When I share something though, it's done carefully and with the intent of sharing strategies of overcoming or strategies of becoming better with something. For example, with the AR test, I'll mention how it wasn't indicative of my abilities as a reader - I was extremely strong - but just that I hadn't read that genre much, was more just "reading the words on the page" without thinking because I wasn't as big a fan of the genre, and thus re-reads in between didn't help at all, as I just kept surface-level reading it! For the organization, I'll talk about strategies I use to this day to help myself become more organized or stay organized.

    Basically, I don't think it's wrong to share, within obvious reason (a key detail), about challenges or whatnot that you've faced, but make sure it's with a clear purpose, and it's not just a story, but something that is providing some piece of guidance for them that they'll be able to take away and apply from it.
     
  6. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jan 25, 2017

    When I taught 6th grade I did talk with my students here and there about how my dad died when I was very young, but it came up naturally during an intervention block that centered on social-emotional skills and we were talking about dealing with big emotions. Many of my students had experienced the death of a loved one - a student had just lost her brother in a drive-by shooting - so I felt okay sharing that with them. It didn't feel too heavy for that particularly group of students. But I'd agree that I wouldn't force it or share without a clear idea of what you're saying about it and why.
     
  7. beginningteacher

    beginningteacher New Member

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    Jan 26, 2017

    Get to know your students first and maybe explain it in a way that is student friendly, try not too reveal too much about yourself!
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2017

    I agree with this. While I wouldn't hide the information, I wouldn't share it in a planned or scripted way. If it comes up in a natural way either in a whole class discussion or with a smaller group of students, I think it's okay to share.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jan 26, 2017

    I think your Friday discussion/writing activity is a major plus! Excellent idea!

    Concerning your question, you are wise in considering carefully anything you present to the students. Today, many parents are concerned about certain topics and how they are presented in the classroom. Discussing your situation with your father's passing, in my opinion, is an iffy decision. A current trend in education is to assume that middle schoolers (and high schoolers) are mature enough for various topics or situations, but the truth is they are maturing. In general, some topics might be too traumatic for some, some topics might be too controversial for some to currently deal with, and some topics might be too mature (especially at an 8th grade level). I've learned that a good rule of thumb for deciding what to present is, when in doubt, don't.
     
  10. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Jan 28, 2017

    I think it's a good idea you start your day with inspirational stories, discussions, and cooperative activities/games as these are the essential ingredients to building a "responsive classroom" used to facilitate intrinsic motivation and respect for one another, culture, and diversity in the classroom. You should probably do these more often than just on Fridays, actually. As for topics for your discussions, since these are older students I see no problem with sharing real life stories such as these regarding college life as they will too likely experience these problems soon. I think you should find a way to relate it to them, talk with them about what you did to overcome the obstacles you faced and let them chime in the discussion with some pre-planned questions. However, I would include other topics for discussions into the Friday morning meetings like lesson content but find a fun way to introduce/review the lesson topic during the Friday morning meeting/discussion.
    :)
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 29, 2017

    I open up to my students but more as a spur of the moment thing (of course I think in the moment to make sure it is appropriate). Any failures, challenges, struggles you went through can serve as inspiration and motivation to students, because they can see that you came out stronger and here you are.
    However, the example you gave us I would not use for Feel Good Friday (this concept is a great one by the way), I would keep it light, happy and positive.
     
  12. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Jan 31, 2017

    I understand what you mean, but don't share your personal details with them. I told my students about something personal, like a breakup, and when one of my students got mad at me for giving him detention for being late for the 5th time, he said to me, "Wow, it's no wonder why you got dumped."

    I know you must love your kids. I love my kids too, but they will always be the first ones to hurt your feelings. It's better to keep your personal life private.
     
  13. TechnoMage

    TechnoMage Companion

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    Feb 8, 2017

    Watch what you share, the first time the student has a bad day they will attempt to use it against you, embellish it, post it, proclaim it, lie about it. It is easier not to share it. Better to just say that you also have had your challenges and they will be able to overcome theirs in time. PERIOD.
     
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