Our primary staff just completed a fantastic four-day course with Responsive Classrooms. As one of our teachers said, “it felt like ‘home’.”
We connected to the guiding principles, we paid attention to ourselves and others, we challenged ourselves through reflections, we laughed, we learned, and we had time to think.
One message resonated loudly: take the time to develop the social-emotional curriculum and you will save time in the end. Spend the time in 30 minute Morning Meetings, take 5 minutes to do an energizer between lessons, slow down a lesson and interactively model what you expect to happen when you release the students to do their independent work, give students quiet time to resettle after a break, finish your day with a Closing Circle to say good bye and review what you did that day.
It all takes time. We worry, as teachers, that if we do this we won’t fit in all the academic curriculum SLOs that need to be covered. Yet, by slowing things down and teaching skills like cooperation, responsibility, empathy and self-control and by taking time to listen, and by planning with intention we actually gain time. Most of those ‘fires’ that we have to put out throughout the day and much of that time wasted by students because they didn’t understand what to do will no longer exist. By taking time, you gain time.
The long way is the short cut.