Listening, And Hearing, What Children Have to Say

As an educator, I’ve always loved being inspired by children. When they speak, it may sometimes be a challenge to work my way to the true heart of what they are really trying to communicate, but it’s always well worth the time it takes to do so.

Addressing a concern from a student

One particularly important experience for me, as a teacher, occurred when a fourth grade boy suggested that I was giving preferential treatment to some of his female classmates. I seriously considered his feelings and pondered why he felt that way. I knew he needed a discovery process that he would find acceptable so I allowed him to choose another student to act as a judge. Together, the three of us found the time to sit together. First, the “accuser” discussed what had transpired and how he felt I was giving additional consideration to the girls in the class. The “judge” asked some clarifying questions, and then it was my turn to speak. I, too, was able to speak freely about what had occurred, added additional information of which my “accuser” had been unaware, and I was then asked some clarifying questions. While I was happy that the “judge” decided in my favor, I appreciated hearing the point-of-view of that first young man. And even though I was vindicated, I know I took greater care going forward, making sure all students understand why things were happening as they were.

Hearing the meaning behind lyrics

Another event took place just yesterday, a beautiful December day that involved a lot of driving. Being in the car, I was listening to music from my personal playlist that involves everything from show tunes, to rock, to pop, to songs recorded by former students as part of their then music curriculum. One song, I Believe, included every positive statement one would ever want a student, or adult, to hold in her heart. The song contains messages about:

  • Discounting the doubters and not letting their words make their way into your heart, head, or soul
  • Continuing to work toward goals regardless of any obstacles that might try to stop you
  • Understanding that hard work is necessary to achieve something that really matters
  • Continuing to hold positive thoughts in your mind, and imagining success: what it will look and feel like; how you will respond when you are successful
  • Knowing that, as long as you remain faithful to who and what you are, and as long as your goals won’t hurt anyone else, you can achieve a level of success that is worth having

As we find ourselves in the middle of holidays and approaching a new year, this might be a time for all of us to carefully consider who and what we want to be, and how we want to be known by others. The changes we work toward in our lives may also change the lives of others. We must choose wisely to improve the social, emotional, and physical components of our lives, and the lives of those around us.

Dr W


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