Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It’s also energizing. When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying, which drains and diverts our energy from creating value. Heartfelt appreciation is a muscle people do not spend much time building, or feel encouraged to build. But this is the corner stone in the education strategy here in St. Jude's School.
Oddly, we’re often more experienced at expressing negative emotions — reactively and defensively, and often without recognizing their corrosive impact on children in particular until much later, if we do at all. That’s unfortunate. The impact of negative emotions — and more specifically the feeling of being devalued — is incredibly toxic, and has sadly seeped into the 'Marketed stream of Education'. As Daniel Goleman has written, “Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are almost as powerful as those to our very survival.”
Considering the fact that the children of today are definitely subject to more trauma both psychological and emotional, we as parents and educators need to play a more active role. There are chances that some children will succeed in school, have fewer behaviour problems, and experience better self-esteem and well-being.
At St. Jude's school it's all about molding not carving. We believe in spending more time with our children which helps us be more attuned to their emerging abilities. We make sure never to underestimate a child's competence; this helps us provide adequate challenges or stimulation. On the other hand we try not to overestimate a child's skills, in case our unrealistic expectations prove to be a frustrating and unpleasant experience for him/her and us.
We never forget to let our children win, at least some of the time. No one enjoys playing something at which they always lose.
A teacher who gives of himself/herself implicitly communicates his/her love and respect for the child. And if you are the person your child respects most in the world, believe that he is worthy of your undivided attention, your child will bask in the sense of his own importance. Perhaps I need not mention the obvious: There is nothing more valuable for our psychological well-being than healthy self-esteem.
As Educators and Teachers, we do not have as much control as we would like over our children's lives. We wish our children were more popular. We wish our children were less awkward. It pains us to see them hurt, rejected by their peers. We wish we could protect them from all of that. But we can't. However, the closer the relationship we have with our children, the greater our opportunity to provide them with self-respect and self-acceptance.
We never approach teaching as one more task or one more job, which makes it a more enjoyable one.
“Your students are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness. For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”
― Kahlil Gibran
Mr. David George Cyrill