Providing a stellar education is at the core of the mission of Mansfield ISD, and establishing positive relationships is one of the ways that mission is being accomplished.
School started on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Although all instruction will be conducted online until Tuesday, Sept. 8, MISD educators are not letting the distance keep them from making closer connections to students.
“Our department tries to impress on our teachers that before they can correct, they need to connect,” said Karrye Aquino, the district’s social-emotional learning facilitator. “It’s the most important, number-one factor in education.”
Now more than ever, MISD teachers are finding unique ways to keep students engaged and connect with them on a personal level.
Some of the ways those connections are being made are through classroom compacts, which gives students ownership of how they will treat their teachers and fellow classmates. Other times, a positive relationship is made by simply taking a dance break.
Joshua Holder, seventh-grader at James Coble Middle School, said those types of fun interactions keep him motivated to log into class every day.
“My English teacher—sometimes when she notices us getting tired or something, she’ll give us an activity to do, like a brain break. Yesterday, we did jumping jacks,” said Holder. “I feel like if teachers can connect with students, they’ll know what will help the students the best.”
Aquino said the results of making real-life connections with students lasts beyond their years at school; it helps shape them to have a more productive future.
“We want to teach our students to be able to take those positive relationships and to go into the community and be high-functioning community members that give back, just as we’re having our teachers give back to the students,” she said.
Holder noted that although his classes are all online for now, he’s already having a great school year.
“I just wanted to thank [my teachers] because they have done so much, and they’re still trying to make this the best school year possible.”
The MISD Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Department equips teachers and students with the tools needed to improving school climate and student engagement. For more information, visit the SEL web page.