All educators want to believe that teachers love kids and are true advocates of them. We remember with warmth and appreciation those teachers who spotted our strengths, loved our quirks, and inspired and challenged us to dream big and do our best. In fact, it is often the memory of those teachers who inspired us to become educators ourselves.
Yet almost everyone also has a story about a teacher who made them feel small and worthless. Those memories do much harm.
Brene Brown spoke about this issue in Daring Greatly. She said, “One reason that I’m confident that shame exists in schools is simply because 85 percent of the men and women we interviewed for the shame research could recall a school incident from their childhood that was so shaming that it changed how they thought of themselves as learners. What makes this even more haunting is that approximately half of those recollections were what I refer to as creativity scars. The research participants could point to a specific incident where they were told or shown that they weren’t good writers, artists, musicians, dancers, or something creative. This helps explain why the gremlins are so powerful when it comes to creativity and innovation.”
As we get ready to start another school year, it is very important that we show up as Capacity Builders—for kids and for the adults with whom we work. Look for stories we can tell each other about the abilities, creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience we see in each child and adult around us.
This video clip entitled “Career Day” from the movie You, Me, and Depree, is a good reminder for us all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAMrR05Xil8
We all have special gifts and talents to bring to the world. Let our schools be places where we nurture and care for stories about individual worth and value. Let’s become Big Tents where the contributions of each person are recognized and honored.