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TeacherRempel does so many interesting and innovate activities to connect with her students and build community. If I were a student, I would love to be in her class. Yesterday amid the hustle of the final school day, she said to me in passing, “My students wanted to let you know how mean they think you are.” Obviously, this caught my attention. So today, I asked her to elaborate. @polarbaby23 shared an activity she did with her students to help them understand what kids are trying to say when they utter the phrase, “You’re so mean.” They selected me to write about. This is what they said:

Mr. V. is sooooooo MEAN because…

  • He wants us to get an education. We can’t go home at recess.
  • He wants us to enjoy a clean school. He assigns classes to do grounds clean-up.
  • He is respectful of everyone. He acknowledges us in the hallway by name with a smile and a greeting. He even expects us to say something back to him.
  • He keeps us safe and tells us not to throw snow/ice balls.
  • He makes you be truthful.
  • He is obsessed with safety. He wants us to grow up. He makes us practice survival during disaster drills every week.
  • He makes us responsible by making us be helpful setting up special events.
  • He makes us sit on the hard gym floor so he can give us awards and show us movies.
  • He brings his dog to school so we all have a pet.

When I heard @polarbaby23 say that her students thought I was mean, I immediately thought about a few of my own principals. They were mean and I was scared of them. While I work hard to earn the respect of students, I don’t want a single student to genuinely think I am mean or scary.

I love the message sent to students through the activity above: sometimes adults make you do things you really don’t like, but they do because they care about you.

I also love the message this activity sends to educators and parents: if kids sometimes think or say “You’re so mean,” you’re probably doing something right!

Thank you @polarbaby23 for doing such wonderful work @georgesvanier36 and for helping students see how mean I am.

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