Monday, June 30, 2014

Being Left Out...or Belonging

Being Left Out…or Belonging

I grew up one of nine children. I shared a bedroom with three sisters, heck, I even shared a bed with at least one of them. There was little alone time in my childhood. Very little. As the parent of an only child, and now an empty nester, I now have plenty of alone time. It is time I enjoy; I relax and I unwind, and I am downright lazy during some of my alone time.

But I also enjoy my friend and family time.  Talking, laughing, camping, listening, singing, hiking, biking…all good times! So this brings me to this quote, “I love being alone but hate being left out.” This blog is inspired by today’s feeling…being left out.

One year ago today I was at the International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) in San Antonio, Texas. There were keynote speeches, exhibit hall prizes, engaging sessions, and fun evenings of bonding with my team. One of the many highlights was being on stage with this team singing karaoke loud and proud.
My ISTE13 Team at The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas
I opened up TweetDeck tonight to see my Twitter feed blowing up with the hashtags #ISTE14 and #ETK14 (karaoke). The thought of karaoke at ISTE brought a smile to my face but also made me feel a little left out and a little sad. People were in Atlanta, at ISTE, having fun without us. Sure it was our team’s decision not to go to ISTE 2014 and to spend professional development money elsewhere, but it still made me a little sad, a little disappointed, and a little left out.

I started thinking of my students. They open up Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter everyday…50 times a day. How often do they feel left out? How often are their friends at the mall, at the movies, or having a sleepover without them and posting the fun pictures online? My students might not mind being alone, but I am willing to bet they hate being left out.

Is school a place where they continue to feel left out or is it a place where they belong? We have the usual clubs and activities for students to join. We have ASB, yearbook, and sports. But at Sierra we also have a Clean Campus Crew. It is my club for those with no club. We have a principal who circulates the lunch quad daily kicking himself if he isn’t able to greet every student by name. We have teachers who take the most struggling student as a TA. We have office staff who recognize the needs of students even as they walk though the front door. We aren’t perfect. There are many who still struggle to belong. But we are trying. Each day when they enter our school I hope they look forward to laughter, listening, maybe learning, and belonging. Maybe we will never be their ISTE or their fun time at the mall but maybe we can be there home each day from 8:30-2:40.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elizabeth

    Great reflections on why it is important to help students not feel left out. I hadn't thought about what it must feel for those students struggle with this.

    Like you I was at ISTE last year but haven't attended this year. In my case I haven't felt left out because I joined the #NotAtISTE14 community and it has been an incredible experience. If you haven't joined the community you can read what we've been up to here They even had their own Karaoke today -- which I missed because I had forgotten about it!

    Sue ( @suewaters )