Hello Teachers! This letter is for you : )
I am among the millions of teachers around the world who struggle on how to deliver the lesson in a way that is appropriate to each and every child. You know, as the theories suggest, they are all unique, and of course, various learning styles should be employed. Wooahh! Yes. True. Each day we are there, riding on a bus, staring outside the window pane and thinking, strategizing and experimenting on how our ”children”, our students, will learn the best.
I tried techniques, groupings and individual works. Well, groupings, as I’ve observed, plays an important role in enhancing a child’s social skills. It has been also my technique to strengthen the bond among my advisory class. Then, I’m here again, touching not only the cognitive aspect of the student but also their behavioral and social skills.
For their age ( 9-10 years old), blooming of different emotions, belonging to a group is of great intensity. Students of their age tend to look for peers and companion where they could feel the satisfaction of being part, of being important.
Once in a while, before I start the class or during break time, there are relationships that need to be settled. There are complains such as;
”Teacher Gemma, she doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore”.
”Teacher Gemma, I am not part of their group anymore.”
”Teacher Gemma, she throws my things in the bin.”
”Teacher Gemma, I don’t want to be with them anymore. They don’t like me.”
”Teacher Gemma, he hurt me, he hit me with his pencil.”
”Teacher Gemma, please I want to sit with my friend, not with her ’cause she’s annoying.”
I thought being a child is just so simple and worry-free. But, I am wrong. Yes, as an adult we thought that our problems in life are more gigantic than theirs, but, we’re wrong. We sometimes see them as a small baby that candy would be enough to let them sit still. Our problems are the same as them. They are like building the first step of their own tower. Their own foundation. What I want to relay is that these children are on their way of knitting their stories. Though they are in step 1, that is the most important, most pivotal, most sensitive part of growing up.
As a teacher, I teach and I interact with the students the way I wanted my teacher back then to treat me. I wanted them to listen to my stories, smiles more and let me feel that I have a significant role in the classroom. I could tell, you have felt that too. Encouragement and motivation really play an important role among students’ classroom behavior and academic performance.
As a teacher, I wanted them to break down any pressure cooker on their chest, cause, I know some of their parents have been expecting too much from them. I wanted them to feel that it’s okay to commit mistakes, it’s okay to missed out points, cause in that way, they could learn the most. I let them understand that teachers are also human, we commit mistakes, but the most important thing is that we are brave enough to accept it and motivated enough to do it again.
There are times that my heart aches whenever I see a child neglected by the group and community he/she should part of. I yearn to understand them, I tried to find their roots, their thinking, their stories, their side. I’ve been there, so I know how it feels to be like stagnant water, you wanted to make friends, you wanted to be free, you wanted to recite, you wanted to greet the teachers, and most of all you wanted to be heard. Yet, the world is closed from your voice.
That’s where I gain this confidence to write about these kids. There are students who are still hiding on their shells. We, as teachers need to knock and let them out. There are hundreds of possibilities that are waiting for them but it cannot be realized if we stop ourselves reaching out for them. Writing notes of appreciation on their works is something applicable to me as a teacher. That is a form of reaching out. You can try it also. I just cannot explain whenever I hand their works with a note on it, their eyes glimmer with happiness. It is a form of saying that there is someone who appreciates them.
Appreciation is the key.