Once folks start trying to implement tracking attempted moments of genuine connection (MGCs), there are a few misperceptions that start to crop up. I'd like to publish those today, in hopes that we can nip confusion in the bud before it has a chance to cause us any undue stress or tension.
Misperception 1: MGC attempts should look and sound the same for each teacher.
This one is important to clear up. If MGC attempts become some “got-to-do-it” thing that external forces are pushing onto our plates, it's pretty likely that we'll end up missing the G in MGC. They won't be genuine. We won't be earnestly trying to make individual students feel valued or known or respected. We'll just be working through a checklist.
To fix this, you've got to find rhythms and routines that make MGCs make sense to you. Maybe all of your MGC attempts are during class passing times; maybe they are all during an independent work portion of your lesson — say, a warm-up or a guided practice segment. Maybe you like to make them more conversational (whereas the ones I attempt tend to be more one-sided and, therefore, briefer). Maybe you do them just on Mondays and Fridays. Maybe you lean more toward academic matters when you attempt MGCs with your students. Maybe you lean more toward the personal.
Misperception 2: It doesn't matter at all what you say during an MGC attempt, just so long as you're doing it.
For MGC attempts to have their best effects on the Credibility belief, they need to be roughly balanced into both personal and academic categories. We want to send signals that indicate our Care, holistically, for each of our students. (Care is part of the CCP of Credibility; image below.)
In order for our students to perceive us as good teachers (not just good people) we've got to attempt to make them feel seen both as people and as students.
Misperception 3: These should always be easy and always feel good.
While lots of MGC attempts are going to give you the warm fuzzies and feel pretty effortless, it's unreasonable to expect that you'll have an easy time connecting with all of your students. Sometimes these are awkward. Sometimes a student might be pretty non-responsive. Sometimes there may be a rift in the relationships in the classroom, and it is affecting the MGC attempt.
In other words, sometimes it's hard! That's very normal.
Until next time, colleague,
Dave Stuart Jr.
Chris C. says
Thanks as always, Dave! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make some MGC with my kids!
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Get after it, my friend! 🙂
Thanks Dave, I just left the classroom after 17 years (14 in one school) to take a position as the district teacher mentor in a new school. These nuggets you write about will continue to help guide me and inspire me throughout this journey. These newsletters have ripples beyond what you realize. Thank you!!
Dave Stuart Jr. says
I’m so glad they help, Leah!