Tuesday, May 29, 2018

True Words of Encouragement and Critique Matter

Recently something I put a lot of time into was noticed publicly and that meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to me because it was an initiative that I've researched, spent a lot of time on, and truly value. When work that you value is recognized, that puts a skip in your step and motivates even better work.

Also recently another effort that I value and have spent considerable time on was noticed--that too has inspired my future work and effort. It's amazing how a few words that demonstrate someone really knows you and understands your work and value can inspire better work and effort.

Similarly an area of need was recognized and noted to me. The area was not a surprise to me, but the way the issue was sensitively and accurately portrayed was helpful. I know that none of us have all gifts or strengths, and there's always more to work on when it comes to doing a job well done. I appreciated the critique and the fact that it was mostly shared with accuracy.

When we work well together with empathy, compassion, understanding, and shared goals and direction, it becomes easy to discuss and work on both our strengths and our challenges. This kind of compassionate and understanding learning community is honest and works to better all members in ways that matter.

I want to think about this as I work with students in the final days of the school year. While I'm pushing them quite a bit on their biography projects right now, I want to make sure that I make substantial time to notice their strength in this project and their efforts all around--I don't want to forget what a few words of honest, knowing encouragement and positivity can do to elevate a child's spirit, vision, effort, and belief in themselves.

In so many ways our learning/teaching communities are communities of leading each other forward--we learn from our colleagues, our students, the families, administrators, and community members, and they learn from us. We're a community of mentors and mentees, leaders and followers, givers and receivers, teachers and students, and in the best of circumstances each of us plays every role at one time or another with the common denominator of leading each other forward towards mutually approved and supported individual and collective goals and vision.