I'm a teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Sartell, MN. I've been an educator for three decades. A lot has changed in that amount of time in both education and society. I'm still tasked with leading students through the rigors and structure of academics while supporting their socio-emotional growth; combined this is no small feat as many of you administrators and educators alike understand. But the world around us has changed and the threats or fears we might have about what may lie outside our classroom walls adds a unique pressure or point of view to teachers like myself.
These are things I didn't have to think about or prepare for 10 or 15 years ago. I'm about to enter my second year of instructing as a Badge Messenger® school which means those threats or fears feel less heavy as I prep for the school year. Having a built-in and easy access communication device gives me both comfort and a sense of support. Badge Messenger isn't just about security or lockdown protocol; one of my favorite attributes is how quickly I can send a request for help if I'm in the middle of teaching or leading students and there's an accident, mess, or medical emergency.
Below is a product testimony of sorts. I wanted to shed light on what being a Badge Messenger-bearing educator has meant for my classroom and career as a teacher.
Before Badge Messenger, I was constantly trying to remember my cellphone while simultaneously trying not to let my reliance on it disrupt my days.
I have shared my life with amazing students throughout my years of teaching. I love working and learning with all of these students. However, like many teachers will describe, there is a loneliness in the classroom — and sometimes you feel like you're on an island.
Teachers aren't given much time to step away from their classroom. They are usually the only adult with their students. This is where many communication concerns arise.
Badge Messenger has changed that! I have easy access to help, security, maintenance, and medical assistance. When I began teaching 30 years ago, I didn’t have a telephone in the classroom. Now I have a standard telephone and my cell phone. We have tried many ways to use these during emergency situations. But, when you are the only adult in the room (23.1 students on average — my largest group was 35 fifth graders) and you have an emergency or crisis situation, you are focused on the student.
The phone is usually on the other side of the room, under paperwork, in your purse, forgotten at home (many schools don’t allow cell phones to be out during the day). In these situations, a little one needs you. They are reliant on your ability to focus on them and help quickly — all while you are trying to redirect other students, guiding them out of the room, holding doors, closing windows, quieting someone down, and counting to make sure all of your students are present. Today, Badge Messenger is always with me. It is the ultimate relief to know someone is one button away.
Badge Messenger allows me to focus on what’s most important all day, everyday: my students
This island that we often feel we are on does have many supports in place. (Special education, student assistant teams, etc.) However, the time it takes to get this support often forces teachers to handle the situation alone; and the times we do make the decision of going to the phone or stepping out to get help, other situations arise. I need communication to be quick and quiet. And, as brain research tells us, in high stress situations you can lose the ability to make logical decisions with your students.
Therefore, going to the phone may not be a teacher's first thought. Often, the teacher will try to work through the situation alone, which is much more draining than handling a situation with a team. This causes the teacher to step away from the task at hand, doing the best they can to serve their students. This is why the “Help” button is something busy teachers dream of. Having support a button push away allows me to stay calm, knowing that help is on the way in no time, and I am not alone.
Imagine students having a teacher who no longer worried about support and coverage in the event of anything disruptive — whether that's a sick child or another immediate crisis.
I can focus on what’s most important all day, everyday: my students.
This seemingly simple piece of technology is ultimately focused on students
Badge Messenger is truly student-focused. It is the communication tool teachers and schools need in order to provide the best possible learning environment for students, always. Teachers don’t always need a full-time assistant teacher in the room. But, when that need arises, a teacher doesn’t need to think of what direction to take.
They have a simple button they can push when necessary and a communication link that notifies them of important information. Not to mention, when daily communication among student support teams is improved, student success gets a boost.
We have a school that has just come on board. They shared a story of a car crashing into their building, while the other side of the school was completely unaware. They were not sure how to communicate what was happening to the rest of the building without causing great alarm for the students. Incidents like this really highlight why crisis management is a vital part of student success.
But as we know, crisis management is time consuming and always difficult as you just never know what the crisis could be. Badge Messenger recognized this communication issue and now fills this big hole!