Capturing Kids’ Hearts

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From the Discussion Forum of my Lamar Class:

Part of a grant our campus received required a high percentage of the faculty to attend the Capturing Kids Hearts training to be able to build positive relationships with students. Students are greeted before entering the classroom with a hand shake and they are able to effectively communicate with students by knowing their name and things about the student like their interests, aspirations and goals.

And this guys then replies:

I attended the Capturing Kids Hearts training in 2007. It was one of the best trainings I have ever had. My challenge is the hand shaking at the door. I always have students who want to chat for a few moments before they leave the room. If I miss someone, I still try to shake their hands within the first few minutes of class. They come to expect it.

Then this woman chimed in with this:

Capturing Kids Heart is a training that I have been hearing a lot about lately. I do believe that it is a wonderful training, however, it is exactly what elementary teachers have been doing for years. We greet students at the door with a hug or high five, they feel safe talking to us. It is nice to see older grades buying into the same philosophy
Mr. Tool is now the expert on this program, and decised to school her with this todbit:
It’s a lot more than greeting them at the door. It’s about accountability in their work, their lives, and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect too. However, you are right in the similarities in greeting the students.
Her repsonse?
well I most certainly did not mean that it was only about greeting students at the door. I do actually realize that there is more to it than that, such as the disciplinary side, and the accountability of it as well. I just was commenting on the statement that many people have made about greeting at the door. Elementary students often feel much more respected by their teachers than older grades, this is because we have worked hard to create that atmosphere in the classroom where they will not be put down or given a sarcastic comment by students or teachers when they make a statement or ask a question. That is lost somewhere in the older grades as students are beginning to feel more self-conscience about themselves and insecure. Capturing Kids Hearts helps older grades and even elementary ones, grasp the concept of allowing kids to learn and work in a safe environment.
My reponse to the whole Capturing Kids’ Heart bandwagon?
Before Capturing Kids’ Hearts can work, there has to be a culture that supports it. I attended that training in 2001 in my former district, and I have seen first hand that a handshake in the morning doesn’t mean anything if that is all the students get. It’s not that my colleagues hated kids of their jobs – it’s that there were so overwhelmed and overworked. I think any principal who tried to implement programs like that should make sure that the staff is supported first. I just go back to If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students.
The Tool responds to me:
I understand your frustration. I speak from a perspective of working at a school in the Houston ISD that has seen the enrollment drop from 1500 to 800 in the last 6 years because parents do not want to send their children to the “gang” school. A few former students have been featured in Texas Monthly magazine and Dateline NBC, and it wasn’t for the good that they were doing. A former student of my school now sits in jail, charged with killing another student’s mother. I understand overwhelmed and overworked. I understand being cursed out, students not doing their work all the times, high absence rates, etc. I stay focused on those that are there and when others come back, I focus on them too. It is frustrating, but the bottom line is that I set the tone in my classroom. My expectations are set extremely high for my students, even when I am told that they cannot do things. I set my students up for success, even the 16 year in the 8th grade who reads at a first grade level. (There are others similar to that student too.) I spend time at the beginning of the year working with my students to create their rules and they “police” the class themselves. Capturing Kids’ Hearts works in my classroom because I established the culture that supports it. Ninety-five percent of my students passed TAKS last year. Forty-seven of the 151 made commended performance. I have learned that sometimes you have to feed yourself.
Oh, how I wanted to post what I really thought about him and all of his classroom accomplishments. How GREAT he is. How he must LOVE his classroom. But I didn’t. I just posted this:
No frustration on my part. I’ve just seen the program fail. Flip Flippen does not have a magic band-aid – even if the program is good and worthwhile, it can still fail if the culture doesn’t support it.

The role of the AP is create a campus climate – I disagree that teachers have to “feed themselves” – that just seems go against everything that has been presented in this program.

Did I cop out? Am I being too sensitive? For some reason, this struck a nerve with me. Ticked me off. Perhaps because I’ve seen it fail in at inner-city school with at-risk students. Perhaps because I’ve had this pushed down my throat without any support. Perhaps because I suspect my principal was rewarded with kickbacks for promoting this to other districts. Perhaps because I went to school with their poster boy of success, Junior.
I don’t hate the program. But I get angry with this guy’s self-righteous tone. His superior attitude. His “feed yourself” comment.
I hope to God this man doesn’t ever become MY administrator.
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