Written by: Jennifer Appel
Based on the stories told by: Paul Dowdy
“Students are inherently the most important people entering our
-- Jimmy Casas, author of Culturize
One of the best character lessons I learned from my father is that you need to interact with your students in an environment outside of the classroom.
This can be as simple as greeting them at the door, playing outside at recess, eating lunch with them, going to sporting events, or coaching. All of these establish relationships on a different level than just in the classroom.
One particular story that I vividly remember is when dad came home one day and said that he was attacked by two crows! We had to hear this one! My father believed strongly in going to recess every single day, he ran a kickball game, basketball game, football, and even on special occasions he brought his fly fishing rod and taught students about the art of casting. Many times, he would even tell his bosses that he was not available for meetings during the middle of the day because he was needed in his building.
AWARD WINNING PRINCIPALS always put their students first.
He was more than just a principal to his students, a lot of them didn’t have male role models and he always willingly stepped into that role.
One day, he was going outside at the start of recess like he did everyday and saw a group of students that were gathering near a tree on the playground. He said that the kids seemed a little scared and then he saw that two birds were circling the students. As he approached the area he saw that it was two crows that were paying very close attention to the students. He was trying to figure out what was happening and realized that another crow was hurt and on the ground, so his friends were watching over and trying to protect him.
He decided that he needed to protect the students and the crow by removing the injured crow from the area and to safety while having the students play in another area of the playground. He had a feeling that the crows were not going to be very receptive to him moving their friend, so he went back inside in search of protective gear! He grabbed his baseball cap he always wore, a thick winter coat, and borrowed some heavy duty gloves from the custodian. Armed with makeshift safety gear, he then went back outside and carefully moved the crow to an isolated location so that he could heal and fly again. All while he was doing this, the two crow friends were “dive bombing” him. The students were grateful to go back to the area without being watched by the two crows. But it was a different story for my dad, he was attacked every single recess for the next two weeks...crows have an amazing memory. A reality my dad learned the hard way!
When you craft an Award Winning Culture filled with SELFLESSNESS, you establish an environment where your students are your first priority!
By relating to students in their natural environments, educators model character, service, and sacrifice toward their students while overcoming adversity.
Even if we suffer the occasional attack by some angry feathered friends...for nearly TWO WEEKS...it is absolutely WORTH IT! Our kids deserve it! #CatchingCharacter
ABout the author
Jennifer Appel is a teacher at Enterprise Middle School. She has been teaching for 20 years. Her passion for education comes from growing up in at education driven family (4th generation) and wanting to help and serve others. She is now driven to create an environment where all students are able to learn and become passionate about serving others. Jennifer can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on twitter at @jennifermappel. Follow AWC @awculture on instagram @awardwinningculture. Follow Wildcat Nation on instagram @emsleadership. #WildcatNation #AwardWinningCulture
Paul Dowdy is a retired elementary school teacher and principal. Paul was in education for more than 40 years. Paul created cultures of excellence at every school he taught at or lead. Paul was also an adjunct professor at 3 different universities in the state of Washington and a regional director for Heritage University. Paul has shared his stories all around the state of Washington in the form of presentations. He's passionate about children and that reflected in all of his work as a reading specialist and his study of the brain and how that drives instruction. Paul is not on social media...but can be reached near any body of water that's conducive to shadow casting! #FlyFishing
Award Winning Culture was created by Hans and Jennifer Appel with the sole purpose of creating an educational mindset of Positive INTENTIONALITY and ACTION; with a daily mantra to make our sphere of influence stronger through Character, Excellence, and Community. Part of AWC's mission is to highlight outstanding educators, companies, and resources that support an Award Winning Culture. Both Jennifer and Hans work at Enterprise Middle School aka Wildcat Nation. Wildcat Nation received the 2018 ASCD Whole Child Award in Washington, for its award winning culture and the 2018 Global "Class Act Award" for Kindness.