Sanée Bell

Leading and Learning with Purpose

I was reading a devotional a few weeks ago, and I came across a reading that really resonated with me. It made me think about what is often done to students in schools. In our profession, students are often sorted and labeled based on their achievements, appearance, activities, or abilities. The phrases “those kids” or “these families” instead of “our kids” and “our families” are often used when describing students who are underprivileged.

Unfortunately, students who are underprivileged are often viewed as a problem that needs to be fixed or addressed by somebody else; however, the somebody has not been identified by the people closest to the need. Oftentimes, the somebody is the person who is looking outward for someone else to identify and address the student’s needs. When we signup to be educators in public school, we do not get to pick and choose what comes through our doors. A child’s zip code should not determine the quality of education they receive.

Screenshot 2016-09-03 21.55.31As educators, the only thing we can pick and choose is our attitude, our dedication, and the amount of determination we will pour into “our students” and “our families.” We are the somebody’s who will help our students see the possibles. We must remove the boundaries and labels that others have put on our students. Labels become impossibles. No label teachers see every child as if they were their own personal children. No label teachers are committed to student growth, regardless of where the starting point may be. No label teachers seek to find the possible in every child and are committed to helping them become their best possible self.

Labels are useful when sorting items, organizing groceries or sorting laundry. Labels are necessary for organizing our time, our things and our activities; however, labels for people quickly turn into impossibles (Martin, 2013). No label teachers don’t see impossibles. No label teachers are committed to finding a way to reach every child because every child is someone else’s whole world. Every student who walks through our doors are “OUR KIDS” and they should mean the whole world to us!

18 thoughts on “No Label Teaching

  1. I love this! Thank you for that message and important reminder.

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    1. saneebell says:

      Thanks for reading, Heather!

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  2. Barb says:

    No label teachers are growth minded. Can’t is not in the vocabulary of a no label teacher. They see possibilities, hopefully probabilities.

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    1. saneebell says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Barb!

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  3. Pamela Sonnier says:

    Your students and teachers are blessed to have such a wonderful role model that sees through their tough skin to the heart! I was one of the lucky teachers who had the privilege to work with you!

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    1. saneebell says:

      It was a pleasure to work alongside you, Pam! Toughness dipped in love made you a gem of a teacher. I learned a great deal from you! 👍🏾

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  4. Dawn-Michele says:

    Well stated… I was one of those kids, growing up poor and on the wrong side of the tracks, my teachers were awesome at assuming we all had a good shot at a future of success. I never questioned going to college because they never questioned it… and I was average, not gifted so they truly just taught us all. I never thought about it until I read this article. Thanks! Time to look up some old teachers and thank them too!

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    1. saneebell says:

      Thanks for reading, Dawn. Education is the great equalizer. When you educate a child, you change future generations. Education changed my life!

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  5. Anna says:

    Don’t label, Inspire!

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  6. Ralf M. Trusty says:

    I retired after 32 years as an elementary teacher – 18 yrs. in 5th grade & 14 yrs. in K/1st grade. (I was also the first ever male teacher hired at that elementary – but that’s a lot of other stories to be told later). The students who walked through my door at the beginning of the year, ALWAYS became “MY KIDS” from that moment on – no matter what their background was (again, lots of experiences I’d like to share). You are absolutely right, labels destroy the dreams kids have, and the true teacher will provide a safe, positive, compassionate environment before he/she ever begins to teach “his/her kids”. 😊

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    1. saneebell says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ralf! I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and sharing your thoughtful reflection.

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  7. Scott Wagoner says:

    Amen…thanks for sharing. It’s a “our kids” mindset

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    1. saneebell says:

      Thanks for reading, friend! I agree 100%! It is all about our mindset.

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  8. Patricia Edisom says:

    You are phenomenal. I thank you, not for who you are and what you stand for but for who you help me, your grandmother, to see and become after I have been touched by you. May God continue to bless you, Sanee. You are a priceless gem. I love you, so.

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    1. saneebell says:

      Thanks for reading, Mamaw! Your encouragement and belief in me has always been a source of inspiration to me.

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  9. Stephanie McElroy says:

    Sanee- this article was recommended to me by a fellow Principal here in LCISD. When I opened it, I saw your name! You go girl! Proud that you were my first mentor in KISD when I got my Master’s!

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    1. saneebell says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks so much for reading and for leaving your kind words. It is amazing how time flies. We had great times at WMJH! I hope you are well.

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