This one is simple – the most important lesson I want to teach my students, is this:
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” AA Milne
I want my students to believe in themselves; to see themselves as learners, problem solvers, collaborators, and be 21st century thinkers who finish school and have choices. I want my students to value themselves, their skills, their strengths as well as being resilient, assertive and proud of who they are. I want them to be able to bounce back, manage change and change direction without a meltdown. I want plan B to pop into their heads naturally, and without stress.
As I write this, I am reminded of a young girl I taught in year 7, 3 years ago. Helen has an intellectual disability which put her in the category of “special needs” in a mainstream school. She had few friends, not for the want of trying and her self esteem was crumbling in a large class of loud, boisterous, sometimes cruel, year 7 students. I made a connection with Helen and developed a warm relationship with her, based on respect. I believed in Helen and I encouraged her to write as this was her strength. I bought her a writer’s notebook and I read all her stories with genuine interest. I gave her feedback and confidence. Helen still emails me now – even though I moved schools and haven’t seen her for over 3 years. I know that Helen developed a belief in herself as a learner and I believe that it will stay with her forever. I want her to Promise me that she will always remember: she is braver than she believes, stronger than she seems, and smarter than she thinks.