Believing in Our Students
We started working on a special project to help build a better community and stop bullying issues. Our first step was to focus on what a group is, how it should work and how special each and every member is. I encouraged my students to imagine that our class was like a giant puzzle and that each puzzle piece was one of us. It was a highly enriching opportunity to discuss our thoughts, feelings and expectations. I was excited to see how engaged kids were and how everyone spoke their mind. While we were sharing our ideas, Martin* raised his hand and said: “We’ll never be a good group… All the teachers always tell us how terrible our group is.” I was deeply hurt by what he said and what hurt the most was the fact that Martin was totally convinced of his words. At that exact moment, I remembered a wonderful talk by Angela Maiers on the importance of believing in others and letting them know they matter. I looked at Martin, then I looked at each of my kids and said: “Each of you is a wonderful child. Please, don’t say that again… Yes, there are things we can do better, but I believe in this group and most important of all, I believe in each of you.”
I gave all my students a puzzle piece and invited them to decorate each piece and add information about their likes and hobbies too. They put such passion into their work! It was inspiring to see kids who are usually reluctant to use colors, draw bright colorful pictures. It was amazing to see the shiest kids step in front of the class and proudly present their pieces. It was powerful to hear what everyone had to say about our group; what they thought they were doing well and what they thought they could do better. It was such a special time that we all decided to create a video to treasure the moment forever. Guess, who came up with the idea?… Yes, Martin!
Do you believe in your students? Are you positively convinced you can make a difference for them? I know it can sometimes be hard. All it takes is caring, believing in them, connecting with them and most important of all, patience and effort. We need to tell our students we believe in them at ALL times. How do you feel when someone believes in you? Imagine how powerful this can be for a kid! If we show our students how much we care and trust them we’ll be definitely paving the way for them to thrive.
* not his real name