I have a friend right now who is going through some rough times, and the most recent problem is coming from her own parents. She is being told by her father that her time spent obtaining a college education is a waste of her time. He is an older man, who never went to college, and has worked in a more “blue-collar” setting. I spent most of my night trying my best to console her and to help her see that her father is completely wrong; that her time bettering herself is the best time that she has ever spent on herself.
But what comes to mind is the destructiveness that words have, and how they are ten times as hurtful when they come from people we love or admire. As future teachers we may become those people to our students, and what we say or how we say it, will have an impact on them in some way or another. It is imperative that we choose our words carefully, and that if we do have anything to criticise about that we do it constructively, as Kayla mentioned in her post, “The Power of Wrongness.” If we need to let our students know that what they are doing is less-than-stellar, then we do it in a way that helps them to learn from what we are offering and doesn’t just arbitrarily put them down. They will be told many times that they aren’t the best at everything in life, but as teacher’s we don’t need to tell them that it was a waste of their time if they were sincere in their attempts to better themselves. To them, it was not/is not a waste of time.
Of course it needs to go without being said, but we should never put down a student for bettering themselves; even if it seems trivial. For example, if your student wants to learn how to juggle, don’t laugh or comment how it might be stupid. To the student, it is something they have great interest in and desire to be capable of performing the activity. Even though it is juggling, it brings them happiness and it betters them in some form or fashion. The student might discover on their own that it is not as great as they thought it was and eventually abandon it. But, as teachers, the fact that they are sharing that with us means that they value our opinion. And if it’s not detrimental to themselves or others, who are we to tell them what they are doing is wrong or right, cool or uncool, awesome or lame.
In an education realm, we should not discourage students from studying subjects that they feel will make them happier or help them to grow as an individual. We need to nurture that desire, and challenge those who are not trying to better themselves. Our words, as teachers, and as individuals, carry a lot of weight. We need to be mindful of what we say. Life runs on words, and if all we feed it terrible words, then this will be a terrible life. But if we put the right words in the engine, then this life can be more than we ever hoped for.
Though she may never see this post:
To my dearest friend,
Keep on striving for what your heart desires most. Never let those who are jealous of your great works bring you down with their words; never stop believing in yourself. You are an amazing woman and the world is yours for the taking. You are above the words and above the judgment. All your hard work will pay off, and when everything is done, you will smile and know that it was because of your perseverance that you achieved all that you set out for. I have told you before, and still believe it every time I am with you, but you are destined for GREATNESS!!!