Why Walking Around the Track Matters

“How are you today? What did you do this weekend?”

“Who are you playing with today? What are you playing?”

“So, what’s new in school today? What are you learning about?”

Those are the questions I usually have to ask to get one of them talking. Small repertoire on my part. After all, my job wasn’t that big—it wasn’t taking care of the entire school system or even a campus. It wasn’t overseeing a musical production or a praise team or a school-wide event. It spanned the area of the track and soccer field. It’s called supervision, and that was my “placement” in previous years. I could usually get around it full circle about four times over a lunch break. Maybe even five on a good day. I could even call that exercise and feel good about myself—maybe eat an extra chocolate bar…or two.

On a not-so-good day, it’s rainy and cold. It might even blow an umbrella inside out or change my “tamed” (read: heavily doused in product) hair into a rat’s nest. I might come in after the bell rings with pants wet up to my thighs because of the blowing rain or a tummy grumbling for a lunch I never had time to eat.

Solving a Problem

There are days where it seems like for every two steps I take, intervention is needed. “The game isn’t fair. This kid is saying a bad word. This friend doesn’t want to play with me. He’s not obeying the rules. She ran away from me.” Phew! So I walk through the problem solving steps with these students.

Did you tell them why you were feeling upset? Did you try to have a conversation with them before coming to me? Hmm…most of the time that’s what I am coaching students through to solve their problems. Or I might go the route of:  how would you feel if someone said that to you? Let’s talk this one out….

Some days it seems like I am going to have to buys stocks in the Band-Aid company! Some might actually NEED the bandage, while some just need to know that I care about their “owie.”

Offering a Listening Ear

Other days, I don’t do much talking at all. They do. They have things to share, things they want to talk about. 

“Do you want to know what I am learning about? Do you want to know what we did an experiment about? Do you know what I am writing a story about? Guess what I am doing for my research today?”

“Do you want to know what I’m playing? Have you seen my friends? I need to play an important game with them!”

“My aunt is having a baby! I’m going to be a flower girl in a wedding! I get to go camping this weekend!”

“Do you want to know what is unfair? Can I tell you what I don’t like about today?”

 “My dad was in the hospital…my mom is feeling lousy again.”

And that is when I know walking around the track matters. To the students who need a listening ear, who needed a trusted someone to talk to, who want to be reassured that everything is still okay. An open ear, a steady pace, some comforting words. I couldn’t offer solutions, but I could offer my presence and attention. Until the bell rings and they race inside…until my next supervision time comes.

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