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Teachable Moments

What is a teachable moment? It's learning through family. That's what Boys Town provides to tens of thousands of children and parents everyday. And that's what we'll focus on here. Stories of those who we've seen succeed, and ideas on how to help bring Teachable Moments to your home and family, too.

Back to School at Boys Town
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by Julie Mooney, Boys Town High School Teacher

tags: education, School

Back to School at Boys Town

A new school year is beginning at Boys Town. That means new faces, new expectations and new beginnings for many of our students. Some have been with us over the summer, while others are just joining us. Our students, like those everywhere, are usually ready to settle into the routine and structure of the school environment. They are looking forward to being involved in good, positive activities.

Those who have been to school at Boys Town already know that they will have support from the teachers, administration, staff and family-teachers to be successful. We also work together to ensure every student is receiving the time and attention needed. Family-teachers are especially helpful in back to school preparation. They have spent a lot of time preparing their students for the school year. Part of that includes teaching the students social skills that will help the students to be successful both in in the classroom, as well as out.

As a teacher at Boys Town High School, I look forward to the new school year. I love my job. I have had people ask me what the high school is like at Boys Town and this is what I tell them. When you walk down the halls during class it is quiet and calm. Students are in class and engaged. Teachers are using all of their talents to diversify learning to meet the needs of their students at their level and move them forward. In the hallways between classes, you see students interacting with each other and with their teachers. You see smiles on the faces and hear positive conversations. Why does it look like this? Three words: structure, routines and expectations.

Let me explain. We fill our students’ days with structure. Students’ days are filled with school, after school activities and sports. Some students work a part-time job. Family-teachers help their youth to structure time into their day for study time and chores.

Routines help our class periods run smoothly. Students know that they will have bell work at the beginning of each period. They know that homework will be collected each day. They have assigned seats. Classes, practices and study times are the same for students day-after-day.

In my years of teaching, I have found expectations to be the most important factor in classroom climate. Teaching students what is expected of them allows them to make positive choices. We teach expectations. We practice procedures and we practice them again. Repetition helps the students to know how to respond. We reward and praise students when they do well. The Boys Town Model helps us to be consistent in our expectations across our community.

It’s a positive feeling to be working as a team to help our students achieve success. We work together to shape and mold our youths’ behaviors so that they can grow in confidence and do their best.