“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”
Years ago, I came across this powerful and life changing video, and since then, I haven’t stopped sharing it. It’s the message Rita tells the world what takes me back to her video every now and then. I must confess that I sometimes need to go back to it and remind myself that, even in the most difficult days, you have to believe in yourself and your students.
I’ve learnt from experience that we all need someone to save us at some point in our lives. In fact, I feel I am saved by my students with every hug, every smile, every achievement. If you are a teacher you know that teaching is harder than you thought it would be before you started, but still, when you get feedback from your students, you get that extra energy you need to finish the week or sometimes even the day.
I don’t teach to be a hero, I teach from the heart. I enjoy seeing my students succeed and I love even more being there for them when they find it difficult to do so. When a student tells me “Thanks to you I …”, I feel a stronger person because I know that all my hard work was worth it and that maybe, just for a day, that student will feel powerful enough to believe in himself/herself.
If we want the world to change, we need people who care and there’s no other way of getting there if we don’t care about others and specially, if we don’t make others feel they are important in this world. Teachers need to care first. When that human connection Rita describes is made, there’s no turning back. Once a student feels strong enough to learn, learning is easier.
I’ve read and heard a lot about how important human connections are when teaching kids or adolescents. However, when I started teaching adults I noticed that they need someone to believe in themselves as well. It may sound silly, I know, but I’ve heard so many people saying “They are adults, they need to figure it out on their own”, “They should have the strategies”, “They are not trying enough” and so many other things.
The first deep talk I had with an adult student was quite weird at first. I was quite scared they would think that I was giving them an opinion that was not requested. But then, when you find the right words and you let it flow, you discover a whole new world of problems and fears. I realized then, that as I sometimes hope that if I believe in my students they will find the way out, we all need our own champions. You name them: dad, mom, friend, husband, student, teacher… we all need someone to believe in us and tell us that we can do it even when we have a long way ahead.
When you notice you are being impatient with others and you can’t control it, look inside your heart and think of a time when you felt alone. Think of that day when you needed help and no one noticed you. Then, you will find the strength you need to save someone else for a minute, for a day, for a year or it may even be forever. If you can’t achieve it today, keep trying until you can, but we need to do it if we really want the world to change, because the truth is, none of us is strong enough to change the world, but we can make the world change if we decide to change first. So tell me… whose champion are you going to be today?