Core Values in the Classroom

I posted this photo already for all of the fans of my FB page, but I had to share it here as well!  Tomorrow marks the end of my first full week back at school.  As I anticipated, it’s hectic, it’s chaotic, it’s disorganized, etc., but I’ve never doubted that it’s where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.  
photo Air Force Core Values
I love that being a Reservist allows me to fulfill both of my dreams, and sometimes those two worlds collide!
This year I decided to incorporate the Air Force Core Values into my classroom rules, for lack of better words.  Rather than rambling on and telling the students what they can’t do, I put the abbreviated version of the Core Values on the wall.  I spent the first day of school telling them about myself, about being in the Air Force Reserve, and about how important living these Core Values are to me.  After that, I had them tell me about their summer within a framework of these values.  This summer, how did you demonstrate your integrity?  How did someone serve your needs before their own?  How did you practice service before self?  How did you show your personal excellence?  It was a successful activity, and I really think it sets a great tone for the school year.  No one fussed grumbled or whined about the activity.  I love that it made them think of all of the good they’ve done, and how we are all capable of living these values.  I stressed that none of us is perfect and that we’re all going to be working towards improving in these areas.
Air Force Core Values
So much of how I want my students to behave is wrapped up in these values.  I want them to have integrity, and to always do the right thing and act the right way toward those in our class, even if it’s someone they don’t care for.  I want them to put the needs of others before themselves.  Under the category of service, I discussed respecting each other and each other’s belongings.  As for excellence, I wanted them to know that despite the unique challenges they all face (I teach special education, moderate needs), we should all strive to be and do our best, and that’s all I ask of them, ultimately.
IMG 20120808 00608 1 I have great hopes for my students this year.  I’ve seen the impact that structure, patience, and encouragement can provide for struggling to learn.  But, if they should need that gentle reminder, I’m there to point to the Core Values on the wall and remind them to Aim High!