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Maslow Before Blooms

Updated: Feb 6

Hi everyone,

This post is from her blog with her permission, of course! To check out more of Rachel's reflections, be sure to check out her blog, All Things Social Studies.

Maslow before Blooms!

If you were to come across any of my tweets while I'm in a chat, you would see me advocating for Maslow's hierarchy of needs over Bloom's taxonomy every day. I firmly believe that the curriculum is secondary to the social and emotional needs of our students. No student will look back on their education and remember a worksheet fondly. However, they will remember the investment you made in them as individuals, and how you took the time to understand and connect with them. There are many ways to achieve this, and I believe it forms the foundation for everything we do in the classroom.

If you're a middle school or high school teacher, it's not a good idea to start the first day of class by telling your students what they can't do and how things are going to be run. They will likely hear that many times throughout the day, and you have a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Rather than focusing on rules and regulations, take the time to get to know your students. If most of your students already know one another, use the time to get to know them better and let them get to know you. Doing something silly that shows you can laugh at yourself is a great way to break the ice and build rapport. You may not even need an icebreaker activity to help students get to know one another. The important thing to remember is that you only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it count. You'll be amazed at how far building a positive relationship with your students can take you throughout the school year.

I also think it is important that the kids know that you are there for them as a person not just as a member of your class. 

A simple way to show your support for someone is by asking them about their weekend on Monday and enquiring about their recent game or wishing them good luck for the upcoming contest. Additionally, you can attend their concerts and give them shoutouts on social media platforms. Try to be a source of positivity and always wear a smile. Be their cheerleader!

I mainly teach students in their junior and senior years. Most students recognize me, even if it's just by the name "crazy lady that says hi to everyone in the hallway." I make an effort to greet each student with a smile and a hello during the day. This helps establish a connection with them even before they arrive in my classroom.

You might think that this approach is too emotional or sentimental, but let me illustrate with a few anecdotes and let you be the judge.

I have had students who have never passed their Regents exams (in subjects like ELA, Math, Social Studies, or Science) but have gone on to pass my US History class. Some have even achieved mastery with a grade of 85 or higher.

Why? Because I invested in them. I believed in them.  I didn't give up when they put up their defense. 

Many of my former students come back to visit me regularly. Some of them even bring their own children to meet me and say, "My mom (or dad) said I am going to love you!"

I cannot stress enough that as the adult, you need to remember that often the kids who need love and attention the most are typically the ones that make it most difficult to do so. 

As you embark on your next journey in the classroom, always keep in mind that there will be difficult days, challenging students, and moments when you might feel like giving up. But please don't! We need you, and most importantly, the students in your community need you. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Go out and be awesome! You got this!

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