Monday, August 29, 2016

Quote of the Day - Hiam Ginott

A week ago today, Atascadero High School hosted two major staff meetings in the Ewing Gymnasium. The first one was emceed by AUSD superintendent Tom Butler addressed the entirety of staff of AUSD from teachers at all school levels to classified staff to admins with a rousing ra-ra speech competitively comparing AHS to the other two main school districts in the North County against which it compares favorably. The second meeting of the morning involved only the staff at Atascadero High School and was emceed by Principal Bill Neely who gave a similar speech but relating specifically to Atascadero High School.

At one point in his speech he pointed to a quote on a piece of card stock paper placed at each place setting at each table. Neely revealed that his brother-in-law, former AHS and AJHS coach Mark Anderson shared the quote with him. I was blown away by both the insightfulness of the quote and the fact Anderson ever took any interest in it let alone shared it with anybody. I still remember the day back in Fall 1984 or Spring 1985 at Atascadero Junior High School when Anderson caught young stoner Jason Flood spitting on the blacktop near the P.E. offices and grabbed him, yelled at him, and either forced him to lick up his spittle or choose between that and suffering some major administrative sanction. I suppose he matured and mellowed with time and in later years would have handled the situation differently given his interest in this quote from the late Haim Ginott.
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It’s my personal approach that creates the climate.
It’s my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

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