We need to Reach them before we can Teach them #IMMOOC #IMMOOCB1

I am participating in the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC (IMMOOC) based on the George Couros  book of the same name.  As part of the MOOC we are encouraged to write three short blog posts in one week as a jump start to those of us who have let their blogs slide (guilty!) or who need a boost to get started.  This posting is based on the prompt “What is your vision of education.”

As a special education teacher for many years and as a school  administrator for many more, I have become aware of just how diverse our students needs are.  Every child is affected by their home life, their academic needs and strengths, their social skills and much more.  My vision of education would be creating an environment where all students can be happy, feel safe and work to their full potential.  In other words “We need to Reach them before we can Teach them.”  When students feel safe and feel that we understand them then they are more willing to take risks.

As a principal I speak with so many students who struggle to overcome situations in their home lives (some really devastating); special needs and social/emotional problems.  I wonder sometimes how these kids have the energy and focus to learn at all, let alone excel at school.

So my vision for education is that all educators remember that all students are extremely complex and have many challenges at and outside school.  My vision is that our educators try to get to know their students well enough to take into account all of their needs and strengths.  My vision is that students are taught in a caring environment where they are happy, feel safe and have  the opportunity to meet their full potential.



    So amazingly important and powerful. We cannot teach our students until we know our students. Technically I guess we can, but the connection we make to them will only further their learning. Thank you for sharing Rick!

  • D Herman says:

    So true Rick! I always say that we need to remember that students have lives outside of school, and their situations impact their learning for better or worse. Be kind, because we never know what kind of “baggage” they carry around in their proverbial backpacks.

  • Sara Campanelli-Saraceno says:

    I could not agree more with your blog. This is one my greatest challenges as a planning time teacher. My first priority is always to get to know the students first (their interests, hobbies, family life, etc.). Those who get to really know their students are those who are forever remembered by those same students we once deemed as “challenging”. Great blog Rick, I often check in to read about your experiences and insights in our profession.

    • Rick Gavin says:

      Thanks so much Sara. Love your comment. You should consider blogging yourself. I hope to blog more. Maybe you should guest blog here on my blog?