Community Building In Schools
Children get their first real sense of being part of a community through the school that they attend. Learning to be a part of building a community is an important goal that all teachers should help their students to achieve. John Donne said that “No man is an island” and that is certainly as true in today’s world as it was in the 1600’s and students need to learn to not only live and function in a community, but also how to help build and improve the community in which they live. Schools and teachers are a in a unique situation to help children gain community building skills.
Taking Pride in Your School Community
Many students take pride in their schools and this is just another way of saying they take pride in this small community that they are so much a part of. Teachers can encourage their students to take pride in their school community by being fair and impartial, treating students with respect, and offering a variety of activities to encourage school pride and a sense of togetherness. When a student takes pride in their school, they are much more likely to avoid behaviors that will harm that community.
Accepting Those that are Different
Bullying in schools have become common place with more and more teachers turning a blind eye to bullying behavior. If elementary and secondary school teachers stressed the need to accept and even rejoice in everyone’s differences then bullying may well become a thing of the past.
In order to do this many teachers must not only curb their own bullying behavior to their students, but need to show their students how to celebrate the differences in one another. Showing respect, and real interest in each and every student will go a long way to helping your students accept one another.
Communities are made of all different types of people, and so are schools, and celebrating the diversity of your school will help your students to accept their diversity as well.
Helping and Empowering Others
Part of building a community is helping others. This is more than just collecting can goods in your classroom to feed the poor during the holdiays. Encourage your students to help one another with class work that one student may find difficult, or with classroom chores that may be assigned.
Some elementary schools and even high schools actually give out rewards to students who help their classmates in various situations. Teaching helping starts with real compassion, if you as a teacher show compassion towards your students then your students are more likely to show compassion to one another.
You just need to remember that community building in schools and in the world outside the school is done in small steps and by making hard decisions each and every day, lead by example, and your students are bound to follow your lead, and not only will you end up with a much more pleasant place to come to work each day, but you will find real satisfaction in knowing that your students will go on to be help build better communities where they choose to live.