A full Circle validation of teachers building relationships, an avenue to community.

I heard a teacher’s response, and I was slightly amused.  She said she builds connections with her students by telling them stories about herself.  This was not a person I knew, I had no relationship with her to know who she was.

I was amused by her response, because frankly it annoyed me she took up our group time to share how she started her hair on fire.  I didn’t know her and I didn’t really care.  I wondered if her students would say that they feel connected because she tells them stories about herself.  I thought about the importance of having a relationship with someone, before you really care about their hair being on fire.

I thought about connecting, for me, to be when someone listens to me.  I thought and became confused, I’m like the teacher, I want to tell my stories.  Think of the feedback loop, where does the connection occur?  In listening/recieving or in speaking/giving?  If I was a better listener to this teacher, would that make us more connected.  Honestly I felt like she needed to listen to connect more with everyone else.

Of course my thoughts then go to testing the theory of Circle.  I think the Circle connection comes because we are doing something together, as a group, a team, a community.  As a group of people in Circle you travel together from Point A to Point B.  As a Circle keeper, I just keep our group on the map, here is getting acquainted, next exit building relationships, rest stop at addressing issues, and lets fill out the travel diary at Taking Action!  (Circle stages).

In my relentless efforts to promote Restoative Justice in Schools, and apply my new socratic method, I asked about a teachers reluctance to be in and use Circles.  I wasn’t speaking with the teacher, but to a person telling me this.  The response was that the teacher was uncomfortable sharing about herself.

“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion”, “you can’t hold a student accountable to a relationship you don’t have”.  I had stopped asking and listening, so I dropped it.  Again, confused, slightly amuzed, but definately aware of the social safety in the enviorment of the school.  I thought it must be low if a teacher isn’t safe to share who she is.  Okay, I did go on to add that an authority figure becomes a person when you know they have a dog, or a kid named Kylie.

Same day, much later.  In a Circle of students.  The question on the talking piece is about using Circles in Schools.  The youth talked about how helpful it would be to have Circles with teachers.  The speaker explained ” it’s easy to judge someone when you don’t know anything about them.  When you see a person everyday, you think, you’ll see them everyday so who cares.  Then you realize you’ve seen them for so long, but you forgot to care who they really are.  I think Circles with teachers would really help us know them, and then probably not be so mean to some of them”

I closed my mouth, my jaw had fell open.  I actually did find my answer . . . by listening.