A few days ago I read one of the most inspiring blog posts of the summer: Love them before you know them. Greta (@gret) shared her first year teaching story. And not only is it heart-felt and honest, it was a great reminder about giving each and everyone a chance.
A few thoughts of the top of my head:
- Every child deserves to be who they are
- Every child deserves to be challenged and supported to develop into a future leader
- Teachers/educators, it is our JOB and our MISSION to support every single child. There is no easy-way-out solution, you have to fit the child, not the other way around
- Spreading negativity is bad. Negativity is contagious, esp. in stressful situations. It can easily lead to an all-around bad atmosphere in a school, esp. among staff.
- Sharing opinions about students can be harming to them. If a teacher finds it hard to deal with a child, then they might consider the child “useless”. If that attitude is passed on, the child might struggle another year. Looking at Greta’s story, we always have to try afresh.
- And this brings me to talk about reports, references and passing on information about students. It is all good. Great to know where they are and what they know. But let’s face it! You have to get to know them yourself. Your students can be a completely different kind of people when you get them, compared to how they were the year before. An experience over the summer could turn student F, the quiet, shy and introvert character who is an academic genius, into an exploring, inquiring and challenging “nuisance” (of course, only if you see it that way!) in the next year. We need to give the children the opportunity to get to know us, and for us to get to know them. Reports, references and other people’s opinions should be used carefully. Take time to get to know each other.
- Lastly, I can know understand even better why students change teachers. In Germany, at most primary school, students stay with the same teacher for 4 years. That can be fatal for some, great for others. While I worked in Berlin, parents were always complaining about the change of classroom teacher (and partly they had a right to do so, but that is another story). However, giving students a new opportunity every year is important, in my opinion.
As you can see, Greta made me think a lot. Her post reminded me of stories of children I taught. Experiences I have had in school. Reminded me to love my Grade 3, even though I don’t know them yet. Greta made me even more excited about starting school, and getting to know the kids. And teachers.
Most importantly though, she reminded me of another amazing educator I know, who unconditionally loves all children, and who I have never ever heard making a bad remark. That is for another post though. Thanks Greta, and also Nancy (@NancyTeaches) and George (@gcouros) for their follow-up posts that got me thinking even more!
Nancy Teaches (@NancyTeaches): Hope came back
The Principal of Change (@gcouros): What are you looking for?
Watch our for Greta’s blog. She is currently working on her own! The above mentioned post by Greta is a guest post at Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension by Mrs Ripp aka @4thGrdTeach