I think most parents want what Heidi describes for their children. The challenge for K-12 educators is to realize that this is not an ‘either-or’ decision…
…either we take care of their hearts and their emotional needs; or we take care of their minds and the curriculum.
We need to do both. Parents want us to do both.
In fact, by taking care of our students hearts, we increase our effectiveness at reaching their minds. Think about our own lives. We perform best when we have healthy relationships at work. It is no different for our students. It goes back to the Three R’s.…Relationship, Relevance, and then Rigor.
Now, when I talk about focusing on ‘soft’ things; I am not talking about phony self-esteem building. There is too much of this inauthentic sentimentality polluting the waters already. If it’s not real, then it’s not effective in the long run. Authentic, meaningful, and supportive relationships aren’t always marked by ‘smiles’. Sometimes they must challenge our children in ways that take them out of their comfort zones.
So, dealing with the ‘soft’ parts of our students’ natures makes it easier for us to succeed with the ‘hard’; whether it is a specific curriculum, skill, or achievement test.
As educators we should listen to the expectations of our parents. Their love for their children is deep. They don’t want them to be lost in the system. They don’t want them to be faceless.
The greatest gift we can give our children is to see them as unique individuals. To see their unique gifts. To help those gifts come forth in each of them.
It can be done. It is something that was done for me.
Thanks Heidi for the great gift you are, and for this beautiful presentation that calls every educator to remember to place their hearts at the very center of their classrooms.