Imagine if everyone around you was focused on making you look good. Improvisational comedy is my hobby, passion, and will forever be my creative outlet. I have learned many rules of improv that can be applied to teaching. Both arts are entered around trust and relationships. Building trust with your students, colleagues, and community is key to ensuring success (in all forms of the definition).
The idea is that if all partners in the relationship focus on making each other look good, then you direct your focus outward, and engage in actively listening to what your partner needs. Trust that someone will look after you when you need it. For my students, this process can take a long time, most of the year.
Today was an example of really trying to make this work, it occurred during a writing activity. I normally play relaxing instrumental music during times throughout the day (in the morning, before/after a transition) and today I had a student make a request. They wanted me to play Minecraft theme music. In the past I have said no to this request (about twice if I can remember).
My assumptions towards Minecraft music was that it would be distracting and not fitting with the meditative vibe I was going for. I paused before saying no and decided to give it a try. It turns out, this music is meditative, perhaps one of the keys to keeping student engagement high when playing the game. This was a small example of valuing and listening to an individual.
What was the last thing you said no to? What would it take for you to say yes?