Sometimes I get frustrated with my class when it seems as if they are not listening to me. You know, when six of them ask a question which had already been answered. Or when they ask you for directions after you have just given them. I have my methods for dealing with those situations, but it is frustrating nonetheless.
The other day we were watching a video. Let me backtrack. This year I started this “thing” that whenever we watched a video or read a story, when applicable, I would say, “This is a career!” I know they’re 5th graders. I know they’re 10-12 years old. I know some of them don’t have a clue what they want to do when they grow up. But I want them to know that any number of careers is open to them. Therefore, I follow up with, “This is a career!”
Back to the video. So, we’re watching this video on Wonderopolis, I can’t remember what it was about. The video finished and my kids yelled out, “This is a career!”
“Yes, yes, it is!” You know I was beaming.
They listen. Not only were they listening to me, but they were applying what I said to their lives. Which made me think.
We need to be careful what we say about, and to, our children. They are listening. And just as they listen to the positive, they hear the negative as well. And the negative probably digs in a lot deeper than the positive.
If you tell them they’re stupid, (words and/or actions), they hear you.
If you tell them they can’t succeed, they hear you.
If you tell them they’re losers, they hear you.
If you tell them they will never be anything, can’t do any better, they hear you.
If you make a habit of telling them what they aren’t, instead of what they can be, they will own it.
Tell them the good. And if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything. Our kids are listening.
My kids are listening, and I am watching what I say!
Ed. note: This blog post originally appeared on Lisa Mim’s blog Diary of a Public School Teacher!