- Staying Within Law: Special Education Teachers and IDEA - September 1, 2020
- Teaching With Minecraft EDU - April 3, 2019
- Self-Care Is Priority One for This Teacher - February 13, 2019
- Preparing Students For Teacher Absences - February 12, 2019
- Respect in the Classroom: Earned, Not Expected - February 11, 2019
- Dissing the Family Crazies: A Christmas Story - January 6, 2019
- Band-Aiding The Mental Health of Our Children - November 23, 2018
- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
I view my ‘job’ as an educator as so much more than just focusing on academics. So many times I act as nurse, counselor, mother and friend first, then teacher. Some of the most important skills that children will take with them through life extend far past reading, writing and arithmetic.
I had the opportunity last Friday to help a student realize the power of a skill that has been instilled in him for the past several years: the skill of standing up for himself and letting another student know that he wasn’t going to be treated a certain way. Even if it meant that the other student might not accept him because of it.
Sounds simple enough. Kids shouldn’t care about what others think. Being true to oneself should be second nature only to standing for what’s right.
Unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Students are being swayed more than ever to fit into a box socially, academically, emotionally and spiritually (or non-spiritually, however it may be viewed). There are so many differences in today’s society than even five years ago that I see one important skill being neglected: the skill of teaching kids the value of self-worth.
You see, kids are caving in to not only peer pressure, but also the pressure of school, the pressure of teachers, the pressure of parents and the pressure of living up to out-of-this-world expectations in so many aspects of their lives at very young ages. And kids aren’t being given the opportunity to ‘own’ their choices since many of the choices they are being given aren’t always the choices they would make. And without kids realizing how much self-worth plays into the way they make choices, they are being left to lead a subpar existence, just accepting what is being shoved at them, without putting much thought into what they are bowing down to.
Just look at the implementation of common core.
Self-worth is so important for kids to learn, yet not much focus is put on actually showing kids how to love themselves, how to stand up for themselves, how to proudly appreciate the fact of standing alone, even when everyone else is laughing and pointing.
And yes, that is definitely a skill that should come from home. But let’s face it: not all students are getting it there and not all parents even realize it needs to start there. Not all parents even possess this skill themselves.
As teachers we need to remember that verbal praise can be overdone and becomes empty and trite. We also need to remember that those students who continually act out or who continually seek attention, whether positive or negative, are the ones who are lacking the ability to love themselves for whom they are. These are the kids who have been taught to live under conditionality. These are the kids who fear losing love, affection and appreciation based on what they do or don’t do. These are the kids who grow up questioning everything they do and choosing mediocrity because they are afraid of failing. These are the kids who grow into adults who constantly second-guess themselves, can’t make confident decisions and settle for becoming one of the crowd instead of swimming against the current.