As a Grade 8 teacher, I often reflect back on how I became a troubled student (trying to cope with the death of my mother), and I now relate very well to some of the struggles that my students face on a daily basis.
If it had not been for my nurturing grandmother and caring teachers, I think my course in life could have gone differently. So, I have decided to give back to my students and take a chance on them like others did for me.
Tools for Life was a very easy and pleasant addition to my curriculum. I have found so many ways to integrate Tools for Life into the subject areas I already teach. I believe in using social emotional learning to reach my students before I can teach them. At the beginning of the year, I reference Tools for Life in everything we do (Expectations and Consequences through character education). I do this by inviting the students to re-create real-life situation role plays, teen summits (sharing/problem solving, conflict resolution) and lots of movement with music. This way students meet each other and gain a sense of belonging. They get comfortable being themselves, knowing what is expected through appropriate behaviors. The rest of the year we just continue to use the strands of what is learned, especially in teachable moments.
My motto for teaching for the past 30 years is: “If my students can’t learn the way I teach, I must teach the way my students can learn”. I often share with other teachers my teachable moments when Tools for Life has been there to support my students. I show teachers how easy it is for them to input Tools for Life throughout their curriculum, whether that be in Language Arts, Math, Science or Social Studies. I share my actual lesson plans and the strategies that I have successfully implemented in my classes. I show them how children can benefit from Tools for Life in the teachable moments of everyday life. And I challenge my colleagues to care for their children and be an inspiration in their lives.
Rose Sanford Wright
Grade 8 Teacher
Jackson Public School District, MS