Favouritism is something that every teacher actively strains to combat. We’re not supposed to have favourite students or classes … but we totally do.
I think my favourite class of all time was a group of Year 5 & 6 students that I taught at Skye Primary School around 2002-ish. I had most of these students for two years and we formed a special bond that has extended into some of them still stalking me on social media all these years later.
It’s been a long time since I taught these “kids” but the memories that have remained would be:
- the lunches eaten together as Melissa recounted her weird dreams from the night before.
- their obsessively professional level of strategy for any Battleball contest against another class;
- and the pure joy that came from their end-of-year performance in which every student starred.
I’ve never since been able to hear Tribute by Tenacious D without visualising that bizarre production.
What made them memorable was their connection and how that connection was leveraged for support. Sure, these kids connected through the fun and inclusion of their concert item but they did it just as enthusiastically when a class member tragically lost her Mum in the Bali Bombings.
The behavioural manifestation of that connection was unconditional. That’s why I remember them. That’s what makes a class tick. And that’s exactly what kids in states like Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT are both missing and craving right now.
As desperately as we might be clambering right now to plan for academically catching our students up when they return to our physical presence, please take a moment to plan for reconnecting them as learning tribes first.
After all, everybody’s favourite class is a deeply connected learning tribe.
Keep fighting that good fight,
PS. We’ve identified that having a comprehensive and locally relevant plan for students returning from extended lockdowns is going to be critical for many schools late in 2021 and early in 2022. Click here and you can download our simple one-pager called “The Comeback Kid” to inject some momentum into that conversation in your school. It’s on the house.
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