The Rocky movies have played a significant part in movie history. Typically , like any movie series, the plots get thinner as the next movie in the series is released. As the new school year started , I was drawn to this famous quote from Dolf Lundgren in Rocky 4. The very thin scenario goes something like this – Rocky is boxing against Ivan Drago ( but in reality it is the world versus Russia!!) After the inevitable pummeling of a over confident Rocky , Ivan mutters into a bloodied Rocky’s ear – “I must break you”.
When I first started teaching , I was told by my senior teachers that at the start of every new year/class you don’t smile until Easter. If you showed any sign of friendliness or relationship your year was shot with that class. I found this very difficult. Relationships are very important to me, in fact its the only way I can communicate effectively. As we start the new year, our job as educators is not to “break” kids but to invest in them as individuals and let them see who we really are as a person. The establishment of clear communication lines is vital for a teacher to holistically care for their students. How can we know what our students know , if we don’t ask?
I clearly remember a teacher who I had in Year 12 who walked into the classroom , greeted you as she faced the blackboard and the started writing notes for us to copy. The only communication we had was when she asked” Has everyone finished this side of the board? I am about to rub it off.” The notes she wrote were exactly the same as the ones my brother had copied some 5 years before me. When she wrote our reports she often would get us muddled up with other students because she had no idea who we were.
For us to help our students to walk on their journeys during the short time we have them, we must allow ourselves the time to see who they really are and for them to see who we are. We have all had passionate teachers who cared for us and their subject. We remember them and what they taught us about life because they cared for us and didn’t try to “break us”.