Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Think I Can

Monday was the first day of school.  Our activities were mostly centered around getting organized and getting to know each other.  Or in my class’s case, since I taught them last year, getting reacquainted.  We sorted and put away school supplies, the students copied down their weekly specials and lunch schedules, we did an icebreaker (not that they needed one) and finally I (along with the rest of the fourth grade team) had the students create their own avatar.  As a prelude to the last activity, I read them the book “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane DeRolf.  For those not familiar with children’s books, it is about a box of crayons that learns to get along and appreciate each other by working together.  The book sparked an interesting discussion about believing in yourself and in your own inherent value as well as the value of others.  Some of the students had a very negative self-image.  They said “I am not smart”, “I am ugly”, “I am not good at anything”.  I decided I had been confronted by a teachable moment and improvised an activity that I thought would help change the students’ focus from the  negative to the positive.  I asked them to write a letter to themselves (to be delivered and read on the last day of school) telling what they liked about themselves and only what they liked.  The following are some of the results.  I am really bad at ranking things, so I won’t make this a top ten list.

·        I like myself because I am strong and I am tall and I like to eat Whataburger.

·        What I love about me is that I try my best and I make people laugh and I always think life is an adventure.

·        I like that I am smart.

·        I like how I draw.

·        I like my personality and that every day is a new day.

·        What I like about me is that I like to do work.

·        I am smart, creative and I can run fast.

·        What makes me special is that I like fashion, I like to draw and I like to sing.

·        What I like about myself is that I am flexible and I can do the middle splits, a backbend kicker, and a bridge.

·        I am funny.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t - you’re right.” Starting today we will leave behind the icebreakers and we won’t have much time for non-academic activities.  We will dive into the Math, Science, and Social Studies TEKS and we probably won’t look back, but I agree with Henry Ford and I believe that confidence and faith in oneself is a vital ingredient of success in any endeavor. My mission, and probably the mission of every other teacher embarking on this new school year, is to help my students create a vision of what they can achieve, of what they are good at, and how they can contribute to their own growth and well-being. It might seem idealistic, but I am idealistic, and that is one of the things I like about myself.