We often forget that the greatest gift we can give
a child is a belief in himself and his own self worth for then all else
follows. Have you ever noticed how just the words, "You did a good
job" can inspire you to do better and make you feel so good inside?
I have seen this happen time and time again, not only in my own life but
in the lives of the teachers and children I have worked with. If
only we could remember these five little words, the world would be a better
One year I worked as a teacher aide in an elementary
classroom. Fear and anxiety showed in the eyes of each child and
I left each day, vowing not to return the following day. There was
nothing concrete to could complain about, just little things that happened
each day to kill the spirit of each child and to make each one feel small
and insignificant. Each morning upon arriving in the classroom workbooks
and papers would be lined up below the blackboard ledge and above each
would be a list: Tommy, 3x Arithmetic, 6x Spelling, 9x Reading workbook, and so on. The list continued for every
child who then was allowed no recess until all his mistakes were corrected.
The teacher, I believe, felt she was teaching good work habits and perhaps
for those children who only had occasional errors or very few, she was;
unfortunately, those whose names were repetitively on the board each day
must have felt so utterly destroyed as they entered the classroom.
What a wonderful morning greeting....to be told how many mistakes you had
made the day before. This was a teacher who marked her time and effectiveness
by how correct her students were, not by the values she was teaching them.
She had obviously never heard that praise works wonders and every day I
left that classroom with the same feeling of despair as the seven year
olds who understood less than I did how she was breaking their spirit.