There are Options to jGR

We have other options than invoking standards to make stories work in our classrooms. I hope I have not conveyed here that jGR is the end of the discussion on getting our work to align with standards. The real discipline comes from within and when kids bring that to a class it is because they trust the teacher because of the way the teacher has handled himself in that capacity.

They trust the teacher. How about that? Trust is a higher thing than anything and alone leads to real instruction. My kids at Abraham Lincoln High School do not trust me, so jGR works for me, has to work for me. One thing with my clientele, they bring respect to the table, but can’t really bring the trust (yet), so jGR is a totally necessary tool for me right now.

But if you have a clientele in which you can bring trust to the table via the bonding between students and teacher that begins and ends with only one thing – the trust factor, why not do that? Why not drive the Mercedes that is trust instead of the Hummer that is jGR?

Any little less bit of fear or power coming from a teacher brings a corresponding increased degree of honest intellectual response from the kids.

So build trust and base your classroom on trust and you won’t even need jGR. jGR is a tool that we use when trust is not there, or limited for whatever reason. It is a tool for discipline, but a much more human one (although it has hammer like qualities on the kids’ grades). But the most human tool is the human trust element that some of us (not me in my current school) enjoy now.

So I don’t mean to standardize this jGR stuff – nothing should ever be standardized here in this PLC bc it would mean the end of our work together. I have not meant to say recently that jGR is some kind of magic bullet. There is no magic bullet.

Part of the overall fabric of this change, in so many ways, is ALL connected to the word TRUST. We must trust the net. We must trust the story. We must trust that the story will take off. We must trust that if the story doesn’t take off, at least we are not insulting our kids with verb charts. We must trust that there are no bandits lurking on this site so that we can do this hard work free of fear. We must trust a lot in this work!

Human trust – that is the trust when the kids shows up as a human being because they don’t have to fear for a grade – is there anything greater in ecuation? When trust is there in the classroom, the score becomes:

Trust – 1 Fear – O

We have to make up our own minds how we use jGR, therefore. Building trust challenges kids most, bc, incredibly, they are allowed/encouraged to function as real human beings in the negotiation of meaning that characterizes our classrooms, and it is this quality alone that builds solid adults who can function and live in right adjustment to others.

Because their teacher trusts them, without any hammers involved, they trust their teacher, the learning becomes authentic (and very beautiful), and tools like jGR are not needed. So say here that there are options to jGR. It depends on who your students are and who you are.

The more you live in fear, and the more your students live in fear, the more you need things like rubrics and rules and all of the trappings that characterize education in the U.S. right now – all that shit.

If the entire purpose of this blog community were to be summed in one word, it would be in that word trust. Trust the process. Trust that you are where you should be with this crazy comprehensible input shit.

Rest up. Another week of it is coming. Trust that it will be o.k. Trust that you are being supported. Trust what you do. Trust those here in this group – they are strong and unique souls, people willing to put it all on the line for intellectual freedom. Trust that our work is unique.

We are all excellent teachers and we need to believe in ourselves, no matter how shitty we think we are bc we are using an old way of judging our work. We cannot judge our work. That is a thing born of ego. Can’t we just stop stop judging our work? Can’t we just get on with our work and stop criticizing ourselves in the middle of the night? We must change in that respect, and go easier on ourselves.

I believe that trust hides deep in people who allow fear to rule their lives. Trust is shy. But it also more powerful than any rubric could possibly be. Maybe next year, if I am blessed to be with my awesome Latino kids again in level 3, they will trust me.

Then I won’t even need jGR. We will dance the dance of language with nobody watching from ACTFL, nobody watching from the hallway, nobody watching from those slots in the walls where ghost administrators wait to tell us if we are any good or not, if we let them because of our fear.



6 thoughts on “There are Options to jGR”

    1. Thank you for this, Ben. I am, even after 24 years of teaching in 4 different schools (vastly different from each other) that we all have our contexts, and who walks into the room tomorrow, for each of us, will make the total difference. We have to each be empowered to choose the way that will work best with who walks into the room. I deeply honor those of you working largely with students who are illegal immigrants. Fear and trust just become wholly different things for them, and that breaks my heart.

  1. An update on jGR

    Today after lunch. Canvas bag in hand with reusable utensils. Plastic sippy cup with water in left hand. Light, breeze. Sunny skies. Low 80s.

    Ibukun: Hiben, I need you to move my seat.
    Robbie: Yeah, we can’t sit next to Nugget and Christian.
    Hiben: Why?
    Ibukun: We got 2’s.
    Robbie: You lowered our grade.
    Hiben: No, I didn’t. You weren’t engaged like the rubric says you should be.
    Ibukun: So can we move?
    Hiben: Yeah.

    Another teacher witnessed the whole thing. It was gorgeous.

  2. …no, I didn’t. You weren’t engaged like the rubric says you should be….

    What can they say to that? In that line lies the secret to jGR. They take responsibility. Sweet.

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