Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Building Confidence~ Developing & Unleashing Zest

One of the best ways to build anyone's confidence, including your own, is to pay attention to what they're doing right, and giving them (or yourself) honest appreciation for it.

Once this is done, we can handle constructive criticism much better. We learn to seek this, versus shy away from it, even if we're in a world more than willing to point out all that's wrong with us, and sometimes in a less than friendly way. We are unlimited in our personal growth, and everything and everyone only serves to make us more of who we could be.

Before children enter this sink-or-swim world, they absolutely must not be allowed to drown before they get there. It's up to the adults around them to cheer them on, throw them a life preserver, and sometimes dive in after them and save them. The great thing is that I know many of these students will be able to do this for others next year who don't have this type of adult in their lives.....and the world changes for the better because of it.

A student having fun experimenting with his taste buds.

So many students want to be in my class because we have so much fun. They don't realize the amount of fun and freedom they are able to have depends on the amount of responsibility and achievement they can produce.

Andrew scored a 100% on the county reading test and a high 90% on the math. His father recently told me that up until this year Andrew would read only the minimum required by school(@15 minutes or 8 pages) at night.

Now he reads for the love of learning. His dad said this change happened within a month-and-a-half from the beginning of the year.

Is it really the teacher or the teaching method? Perhaps it's both. When I was told (and could see) during meet the teacher that Andrew was bored in school, I mentioned that perhaps he wasn't challenged enough, and his boredom was a sign of rebellion that he knew he deserved more.

So as a teacher I recognized what might be good about this student doing as little as possible, and used teaching methods that rewarded above average effort with above average freedom.

Where else can a student who has developed and mastered an entire year's worth of knowledge and skills have such freedom????

Oh, yeah.....LIFE!

And wouldn't it be nice if school prepared them for it, unleashing and allowing their potential to thrive versus tying it up by tying them down, making them sit in their seats all day and do the exact same work as everyone else?

ps - I stopped wearing hats because his mother told me he wears hats all the time since I did. I see I need to remind him about respecting his mother's wishes.

LOL - I also tie my shoes now (motorcycle boots are incredibly time-consuming to tie and untie) because Miguel's mother told me he stopped tying his shoes.


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