As a teacher, I am aware that my students are probably with me more hours of the day then any other adult. In the school setting sometimes we tend to overlook our students personal needs, and it’s easy to forget that we might be the only person who asks them how they are, all day! What might be effecting Joey today, he’s usually so outspoken? Why is Sarah crying again? We have to strive to learn about our students, be aware of their thoughts and feelings, and understand that there might be a lot more going on in your classroom then you think.
Were you ever picked on in school? Did you ever consider yourself to be in some kind of clique? The smart one, the pretty one, the laid-back and chill type, or the wear all black because I hate my life kid of kid? In school I can always remember being called “the quiet nerdy girl”. Being labeled quiet, caused me to be that much more quiet, I never spoke up in class, and kept to a select few other friends, who pretty much had the same label. The sad part was I loved school, and I loved learning but I didn’t want to go to school, because I became so shy and overlooked that I felt better doing my school work from home.
It probably wasn’t until I started my first job, my sophomore year of high school. I was fifteen then and became the carry out girl for the local grocery store. I worked hard, and made a decent amount of money. It kept my mind of things that went on at school. I made really close friends with the majority of the people that worked there, some older, and even some that I considered to be very popular in school. That job and those people changed my whole life.
They complimented me, “Cori your beautiful and your so confident, you can be anything you want, you are so great at working with people.” It was then that I became a talker, and a confident talker at that. Speaking to elderly people as I put their groceries in their car, hearing their stories, speaking to my co-workers and eventually even speaking up during class at school.
You see, I found out that I had to learn to love myself, for who I was. I had to believe that I was beautiful and in turn, it caused me to be the person I am today, confident. Not to say that many times since then, that I haven’t gone through periods of my life where I haven’t felt down about myself, and lost a little love for myself along the way. But I think it’s the people in our lives that help bring us back up, they compliment our achievements, not necessarily our looks, and it’s like we all of a sudden have confidence again, and looks go out the window and we focus on our job, our school, or our relationships.
I have recently been thinking about his a lot, not just from what my personal life changes has brought me, but also from watching my students. I see who is getting picked on, who is getting labeled, and who is feeling down about themselves (looks, and personality). I see the personal side of it, but I also see it reflected in their academic work. Students are more likely to feel uncomfortable before a test if they have self esteem issues, or even just a bad day. Do you know what happens when you feel uncomfortable before an exam? I do, your mind is somewhere else, and most of the time you fail!
I recently watched an excellent Ted Talk video, and by the way, if you haven’t seen any of these you are really missing out, they are excellent for you as a teacher, and some are perfect to show to your students in class. The one I watched was Meaghan Ramsey’s: Why Thinking Your Ugly is Bad for You. She explains that with social media and young boys and mostly girls, get bashed for how they look. Kid’s post pictures to get compliments, or to confirm their feelings of being ugly.
She explains that loving yourself for you image is completely the wrong idea, become an achiever, put all your focus and your effort in to your learning or your work, or your hobbies. When you do this you will learn to get compliments on your achievements, and your looks will be over-passed. In school’s students cannot do this, they sit next to peers who judge them and bully them for their looks everyday. They can’t get their focus on their academics and their grade severely suffer from it.
Meaghan also explains that this happens with adults just as much as it does children. People are absent more from their job and social activities if they feel like they aren’t pretty enough.
I want all my students to see this. Not only does this help me as a teacher have a reminder that my confidence in myself affects how my students see me, how my co-teachers see me, and it affects my ability to be a great teacher. Also, as a teacher I can start to compliment my students more about their achievements, and compliment them on their looks too. I had a preschool student who I always told, that I loved his batman shirt, it pretty much mad his day and he was in such a better mood. Things like this, really help our students emotionally and academically.
I also want my students to watch this video because they can see the effects of bullying. They might recognize a students hurt, or label. They can learn to love themselves, and become better students so they can achieve higher goals.
By the way, these Ted Talk videos are excellent for teachers to use in their classroom. It’s a great way for educators to learn more about their students, and even themselves as teacher, and about the learning process. We can show are students these videos to spark ideas, questions and creativity. Check it out!