01 June 2016

Determination - #100DayProject - Day 062

Image Source: Pixabay.com
I had a glimpse today of what it's like to be my son and I was a little sad. My son is three years old and a pretty amazing kid. He looks a lot like me, sorry buddy, but he's cuter (way to get some of Mom's genes in there). He's a hard worker and loves to play everything, but especially LEGO (usually more Duplo since they're easier for his little hands), digging in the sandbox, and rough house. And let me tell you, he's pretty amazing at building (and destroying) his LEGO creations. I'm amazed at his creativity and determination to make things work. He also attends a pretty amazing daycare where the teacher does awesome things like takes 6+ kids on bike rides (she has a helper who also comes along) where all the kids (even my three-year-old son) ride bikes without training wheels! It's definitely an incredible place for him to learn and grow and he loves going.

After finishing swim lessons today (not the best day for him since he didn't want to get in the water) I took him to "school" and was able to watch from a distance without him knowing. I watched as my son tried to get started on a bike (remember he's three and still very new to no training wheels) and he couldn't quite get it. That wasn't so bad, but then I watched as he was suddenly the last person in the line and still couldn't quite get started. Then he finally did and almost fell over. My poor heart started to break as I watched my son struggle to perform this seemingly simple task and fall farther and farther behind. I wanted to get out and help him, but something kept me back instead. Then he suddenly got going and it was amazing! He was finally going and seemed okay until they had to stop to cross the street and the struggle continued.

As I watched my son strive to ride his bike I suddenly thought back to some of my students who really had a rough time this last year. They fought each and every day to keep up and some of them were successful while others just fell farther and farther behind. And yet, their struggles didn't define them completely, or they shouldn't have defined them. Just like my son, these students had other areas where they excelled, where they were the experts and my other students envied their abilities. And then I had a horrible thought, did I recognize their strengths during their struggles or merely focus on the negative? Talk about a slap in the face. It hit me real hard that I may not have given these students the full support they needed to obtain their full academic growth.

I now know what one of my top goals of the 2016-17 school year is going to be, help my students find the positive in ALL they do. Praise their successes as often as humanly possible and help them see they can make each of their struggles more positive through hard work.

I'm thankful that I was able to observe my son from a distance today and see just how amazing he is because as much as he struggled to get his bike going, he never once gave up. And just like my son, I want to help my struggling students next year develop that same attitude of perseverance. But I have some work to do before my kiddos come back to school in August. It's a good thing I have such a great son to help me become a better father and teacher. Thanks, little buddy!

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