Some of the most influential people in a child’s life are their teachers. For many students, they even spend more of the day with their teachers than they do their own parents.
In Teresa’s life, this teacher was Ms. Singer. For Teresa, a high school student, school was a challenge. She had a reputation of being disruptive, angry, troublesome, and had been written off by a number of her peers and teachers. Regularly she had been removed from class for arguing with her teachers, mouthing off, and picking fights with other students. Teresa was no stranger to the principal’s office, and found herself fielding more F’s than A’s in most of her classes. Despite this lack of student support, Teresa had one teacher that saw true potential in Teresa. This teacher was Ms. Singer. Ms. Singer believed in Teresa doggedly and reaffirmed it constantly despite Teresa’s lack of self-confidence.
Ms. Singer supported Teresa by holding her accountable for herself, not based on her being a “problem,” but rather, based on the “10” she knew Teresa was capable of being. Teresa understood the effort Ms. Singer was putting forth, and a rapport developed between them. Over time, Ms. Singer established a mentoring relationship with Teresa by making an investment in who she was, and who she could one day be. Ms. Singer allowed Teresa’s potential to be her guide. While in the moments of each incident, Teresa felt angry and frustrated, but the student support of her teacher and mentor left her each time feeling compassion and the belief that Teresa could succeed.
On the last day of class, Teresa handed Ms. Singer a note that said this: “… Thank you for everything you taught me and did for me… I’m sorry for all I put you through. I was surprised that you didn’t kick me out of your class because I know I was a pain. Now I’m determined to get something out of life. My mom would be proud of me for doing this and I want to make her happy. Thank you for believing in me. And keep up the good work because what you’re doing is helping a lot of students be better people.”
Ms. Singer, like every teacher who educates using Quantum Learning methods, knows that with the right amount of student support, all kids and teens have the opportunity to be successful; every student is a spark just waiting to ignite. By focusing on Teresa’s potential and possibilities, Ms. Singer could see the positives that Teresa was capable of over the resistance she was holding on to. For Teresa, it was these extra minutes that made all the difference.
Ms. Singer understood the impact of Affirmations. She knew how to use positive language and support to counteract the negative voice inside Teresa’s head. By affirming Teresa’s actions, Ms. Singer acknowledged her every effort and was able to transfer Teresa’s energy into a positive direction.
Students thrive in environments where they know they can receive individual recognition for who they are and what they can accomplish. In ‘The Study of Children Learning,’ Gordon Wells notes, “Children who feel, or who are made to feel unaccepted and incompetent may be slow to recover their self-confidence, and as a result, their ability to benefit from the enlarged opportunities for learning that school provides may be diminished or even, in extreme cases, irrevocably damaged.”
Through positive affirmation and student support, Ms. Singer was able to build a positive rapport with Teresa that resulted in a lottery’s payoff. Ms. Singer did this by removing Teresa’s threats, engaging her emotions, and creating a positive connection with her. Rapport opens the doors to students’ lives, creating a way to enter their world, know their concerns, share their successes and speak their language. The degree to which a teacher enters a student’s world is the degree of influence the teacher has in his or her life. For Ms. Singer and Teresa, this is what made all the difference.
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