See Students as Solutions Instead of Problems
Every child has gifts and values. Some of those gifts take longer to figure out than others. Great teachers make enormous efforts to connect with every child and look at them as a whole child with relative strengths and weaknesses, not just all good or all bad.
In a principal meeting, my awesome boss Todd Erickson showed us this amazing video by Clint Pulver and we had a great conversation about the deeper implications. What do schools look like when they value the child as a whole? How can we lift up every child, even the ones that challenge us and are difficult to motivate?
As this video shows, Mr. Jensen gave this little boy hope and a path of success. Instead of getting annoyed, he was patient and gave him direction. He didn’t get stuck on the negative behaviors and was able to see the value the value and abilities instead. Mr. Jensen looked at the potential instead of the problem. Can you be Mr. Jensen to a child? Your legacy may be reflected on later, but it is created now, every day. Right now a child is looking to you to inspire them and help them rise up. Don’t waste that opportunity.
How do you find a child’s strength? The first thing to do is to watch and listen. See what they do when they think no one is watching. Then spend time with them individually and ask them about their interests and what they like to do. You’ll see them get more excited and talk faster when they are sharing their passion. If you want to help a child, the first step is to get to them know them, and the real version, not just the ‘bad kid’ version that everyone else may see.
We discussed this message as a school team recently at a staff meeting. I bought drumsticks for my everyone as a reminder. I definitely recommend the discussion. Just the other day, a student asked me why his teacher had drumsticks in her classroom. It was a great entry point to diving deeper into this child’s strengths. Every child has a gift, so let’s go find them and celebrate them!