The past few days, a couple of different random thoughts have led me to writing this post. They are...
1. Caitlin's post on self doubt, which led me to reflect on what areas of my life I experience self doubt.
2. My observation yesterday by my principal.
3. This little girl in my class who is very good at drawing.
I understand if the connection does not seem clear yet!
Starting at an early age, kids start to realize what things they are good at, and what things are hard for them. This year, I've actually been stressing this point a lot with my class because I have some students who's challenges are very out in the open, and I want my students to understand that EVERYONE has things that are hard for them and things they are good at. There are actually many advantages to helping children and adults see their own areas of strength including...
1. It builds confidence and encourages a child or adult to pursue that area further and become even better at it.
2. It helps to diminish jealousy among siblings and friends because everyone sees that they have something to offer.
3. It helps children and adults get through challenges to know although this might be tough, there are other things that are not tough.
However, last week I was playing a game with my kids and I started to wonder about some of the disadvantages. In this game, every child put a shoe in the center of the circle. Each child had to pick one shoe and give that child a compliment. I chose a shoe of my most artistic child. I said, "okay I have to think about this because I want it to be good." One of my students, thinking I was having a hard time coming up with a compliment, shouted, "how about J is a good artist?!" I replied that I really wanted to do something different than that. I decided instead to talk about how great J. has become at speaking in front of the class. By great, I really meant that she now will somewhat do it where as at the beginning of the year she would not. However, I meant it as a genuine compliment because her improvement in this area has been amazing and I am proud of her. Is it useful for J to continue to hear what a great artist she is, or is it important for people to notice other talents she has and help her to see that there is more to her than being a great artist?
Then yesterday I was observed by my principal. It went fine, but of course there were a few things I would've changed. After I was a little mad at myself that I picked to be observed during math (a new thing we are teaching in math no less) since my principal always makes a big deal about how great I am at teaching reading. Does it make me feel great that she thinks I am a great reading teacher? Absolutely. It's easily my favorite part of teaching, and I've worked hard to be good at teaching it including getting my Masters degree in Reading. But, does it make me feel like maybe I'm not such an awesome teacher of math? Does it make my coworkers feel like they might be awesome at math, but reading, not so much?
In reality, our Kindergarten team is amazing. We ALL work very hard to get our kids where they need to be in reading, math, social skills and independent work habits. I have got SO many awesome ideas about all these subjects, including reading from them. While I think we are all proud of having a subject in which we are seen as the "expert," I just wonder if this sometimes creates doubt in other areas or perhaps undiscovered talents?
Some "undiscovered talents" in my life include...
*Finishing a triathlon. Okay, so maybe it's not a talent, but it is an accomplishment. Let's just say no one ever complimented me on my swimming, biking or running ability- at least since I learned to ride a two wheeler anyway :)
*Starting a Blog. When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer and people would tell me I was a good writer. But then, I went to a really competitive high school where writing was ALWAYS about a book we read and much as I love reading, I have NO discovered or undiscovered talents in figuring out what the authors "hidden meaning" is...
Do you have any previously undiscovered talents you have just started to realize? What are the things people ALWAYS compliment you on?