Marye Jane BrockingtonIn my first year of teaching, I was fortunate to work in a school that fully embraced the work and learning strategies of Ruby Payne. My assigned consultant, Kim, partnered with me to support, model, problem solve, and celebrate. I soon discovered how valuable Dr. Payne’s work was. I was able to build learning relationships with all my students and celebrated with them as they achieved real gains in learning. Regardless of socioeconomic status and where or what grades I taught, my students and I found the same level of success.

My co-teachers would ask why I didn’t have a behavior issue with a student who refused to work in their room and why my students’ test scores showed strong growth. Working with them, as Kim worked with me, these teachers would come to me so eager to share the successful results of using what I used/modeled in my classroom.

My teaching career moved forward to administration, from kindergarten to high school seniors. When a frustrated teacher came to me for help, I found such joy partnering with that teacher. Soon I would see the same excitement I had experienced. I find nothing tops having students’ and teachers’ eyes light up when sharing their successes.

The big aha moment was when I discovered that Dr. Payne’s work and strategies worked in all grades, K–12. Sure, there were modifications at the lower grades and modifications for different situations, but even kindergarten used a form of “plan and label,” as well as other strategies. I also discovered that building learning relationships at the upper grades can be more of a challenge, but those relationships must continue through the day of graduation and sometimes beyond.

The opportunity to consult for aha! Process allows me to share what I know will make a significant impact for teachers and students. When everything in education can seem so hard, I am eager to share, model, and support teachers and students to experience the same excitement in teaching and learning that my students and I did.