April newsletter from principal tamarah grigg

Welcome back! I hope everybody had a relaxing spring break. As we always do after a break, we have been talking with students about resetting our expectations, from classroom behavior to rules in common areas such as bathrooms, drinking fountains, hallways and play areas.
As we talk about expectations, it's also important to consider how we communicate with our children. As a mother, and a principal, I have learned the principle of "Filling the Emotional Tank." Imagine that each individual has an "emotional tank," like the gas tank in a car. If the tank is empty, one won't get far. If the tank is full, an individual can go the distance. This is important to recognize when you're teaching or parenting. On a physical level, if a child hasn't had enough sleep or eaten healthfully throughout the day, they won't perform at their best. On an emotional level, if a child has lost a loved one or pet, forgotten their homework, been sick, lacks a positive adult connection or is being disciplined for something, their tank isn't full, and it is often a challenge for them to feel motivated or positive during those moments.
It's crucial to notice when emotional tanks are low. Kids will tend to be pessimistic, sad and give up more easily. On the other hand, when children's tanks are full, they tend to be optimistic, deal better with adversity, and are more able to hear what you have to say and do what you ask without assistance. There are several key tools to remember when filling emotional tanks. Praise that is truthful and specific is essential. Simply stating "That was a good job" isn't specific enough for a child, and in some instances can be perceived as insincere. "Thank you for being so kind to your classmate when you helped him pick up his papers" or "I noticed that you made use of the clarifying reading strategy while reading that paragraph" are much more specific and digestible for a child than simply "Good job."
Research shows that having grit is a key to success in life. Grit is having passion and perseverance over a long period. We want our students to develop this characteristic, because it leads to developing a growth mindset, a belief that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Statements like "I am so proud of your effort and how you did not give up when things became difficult" are a great way to praise grit and fill a child's tank. Catching a child doing something right and acknowledging them for it is another way. Adults too often emphasize what's not going well. We might criticize, correct, ignore or make nonverbal gestures, such as a frown, and these behaviors drain tanks. Finally, if adults simply listen and use nonverbal cues, like nodding, clapping or smiling, children's tanks will fill.

Tamarah Grigg,
Principal, Pleasant Valley Middle School

Pleasant Valley Middle School 

14320 NE 50th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98686

(360) 885-5500
(360) 885-5510

Student Hours

Office Hours
7:15am - 3:45pm

Staff Hours
7:45am - 3:15pm

Emergency Closure
(360) 885 - 5343

(360) 885-5343