The Importance of Feeling Important
I have 160 (260 if you can't after-school rehearsals) different students each day. Each of them needing, in their own way, to feel important. The girl who incessantly asks me if I need her to do anything. The boy who is constantly speaking (out of turn) his opinion about all things under the sun. The girl who plays "scorpion" with her friend so she can get a bandaid from me and tell me how bad it hurts...and her friend in another class that does the same thing. Boys that like to be class clowns; girls who want to be in charge. Kids who go over the top in trying to please me with their acting and behavior; kids who just want me to notice them.
Actually, I get it. I want to feel important too! I work my tail off doing a production because, yes, I do love the kids, but also because I know my name is at the top of the program and that makes me feel important! I serve on committees and hold church callings (in part) because I want to be somebody.
We all need to feel important, we all need to be somebody. We all need to know that we are worthwhile and necessary.
So...how do I make 260 kids feel important? It's impossible to talk to each one of them everyday. Sometimes (sad but true) I am so busy thinking about "things" that I forget what or who is more important.
Isn't that what teaching is all about! Helping your students to see that they are important, that they are worthwhile, that they do make a difference! Helping them to understand that what they do matters! And hopefully, along the way, helping them to understand that PEOPLE matter. ALL PEOPLE MATTER!!
So, here is my feeble attempt to show my students they are important to me:
I smile at them
I hold the door for them
I talk to them as much as possible
I plan meaningful lessons for them
I provide them with props, costumes, scenery, etc
I buy them treats
I stay after school for them
I do care about the fact that they play scorpion, that they are sick or lonely, that they feel like they have to get attention anyway possible. I care! I really do care! And I hope that someday they will see that what I do...I do for them...because they are important to me! And...in return, I hope that someday...they will do things for other people, because they will know that feeling important is necessary!