Every child and every teacher can be extraordinary.
Today, I met with a group of teachers who were exceptional in their dedication to their work. When I asked them, individually, about their students, they each had a variation of the theme, “They’re OK.” “They aren’t too bad.” “They’re good.” When we did a hands-on activity designed to build cognitive and social-emotional skills, one teacher said, “My kids would be slapping each other.” We went back through the activity and discussed how to scaffold the activity for success, and modify it to match a class’s maturity and self control.
Many teachers shy away from the very activities that teach students self control and make learning engaging. It’s part of the teacher’s job to bring students from where they are to where they need to be – choosing appropriate activities to build skills, scaffolding for self control, and encouraging the very best.
Every student has the capacity to learn, and some special gift that makes her or him extraordinary. When students are acting in ways that negatively impact learning, how about telling them that they are extraordinary. They are capable of doing great things, and that this activity is an opportunity to show and grow their abilities. It’s a chance to build skills and understandings. They deserve extraordinary education from an extraordinary teacher like you, and it is their right because they, too, are extraordinary.
And when someone asks about your students, you can then say, “They’re simply extraordinary.” Because you’ve made sure they are.