4th Grade Teacher
Blount BOE, Alabama
How does the GTO guide/help the target/victim?
Using this program has given me opportunities to ask specific questions to my students to understand their personalities and home lives better. This has started a classroom community among my students and allowed us to share personal information and develop respect for one another feelings, opinions, and attitudes.
How does the GTO approach impact the disruptions that hinder learning in the classroom?
I begin each day reminding students of the three ways that they can show respect to their teacher and classmates. This helps students understand what expectations I have for them and allows them to be reminded in a friendly way. My students are quick to repeat these three steps to one another and remind each other to be nice when they are yelling out.
How have you seen particular students change/transform as a result of the using the GTO approach?
I am really excited for the future of my classroom and how using this program is going to open up communication between us. I have a very challenging group of students this year who are entering my classroom every day with broken homes, physical and mental abuse, loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness, exposure to several inappropriate things, and hurt in their lives. I have been amazed at the lack of respect for classmates, teachers, and authorities in their lives and feel that this is a true reflection of the pain that is in their hearts. I am always searching for lessons and ways to encourage students and give them a healthy way of showing their feelings and expressing themselves. I felt like the “high/low” activity in chapter 2 was remarkable! This was the first time since August that 100% of my students were engaged, listening, and respecting others. This was really neat to watch and we do this activity often in my classroom.
How have you added your own flavor or tweaked the GTO approach for your students?
In Chapter 1 my students watched the poem video to begin this lesson. I was blown away at how my students were reacting to this video. The entire room was silent and I saw a few tears coming down some of the students faces. My mind was racing trying to figure out how I was not going to lose this moment with my students. As a teacher, these are the moments you live for and hope to have with each class. When the movie went off my classroom was silent and I left the lights off to allow students to feel comfortable. I went to the board and drew a circle. I told the students that the circle reflected their world and inside we were going to write all of the things in their lives that they did not like or that brought them pain or hurt. The students took turns sharing different words such as: hunger, abuse, cigarettes, divorce, drugs, alcohol, stress, loneliness, and orphan, fighting, bullying, and cussing. After the students called out their words I asked the class what they were going to do to change that for their future as kids and their future as adults. Before this time, most of my students always laughed when I would bring up their future, college, adult life, marriage, children, etc… but today every student would respond by thinking of their future as an adult. For example: I want to choose good friends so I won’t be tempted to do drugs, I am going to choose someone to marry that I really love so I won’t get a divorce and hurt my kids. This was an awesome moment in my room, for me as their teacher, and for each student. Every time the students would give a way to change their world I would mark the world off of the list and by the end of the lesson the entire world of hurt had been erased. I finished this lesson by discussing how choices and actions effect of now and in our future are so we always need to choose wisely. I will take this memory with me for the rest of my life!