I found this to be an INCREDIBLY powerful talk. I’ve already listened to it twice.
Just thinking about it has already sparked interesting chains of thought and its only been two days!
My friend, who is a retired kindergarten teacher commented that when you walk into a kindergarten class and feel the calm, relaxed atmosphere, you know that the teacher has adopted the “you matter” attitude. She always used lines such as “you waited patiently for the slide today” “you let your friend use the crayon” and says it made a world of difference to the kids.
That part of the talk is not new in itself – I believe all teachers know this is important (at least theoretically). And as a special ed teachers I have watched Rick Lavoie’s film “When the Chips are Down” countless times. But Angela Maeirs takes this point beyond education, into our daily life! Now, you may say “duh”, but Maeirs is a really great speaker and I found myself asking “why has the focus only been on the pupils? What about us teachers, and everyone else I meet regularly? Being polite and noticing aren’t the same!
A few hours after I first listened to it I had to go to a stationary store and found myself buying a “noticing notebook”. I got home and stopped myself from putting it into my schoolbag. I was “blown away” Maeirs’ description of the impact of such a notebook on the students. But I’m not Maeirs! I teach in the format of a learning center with five or seven different things going on in class at the same time. In the short breaks between lessons I barely have time to put my stuff back in order or take some bites of my sandwich. I’m also trying to remember to drink more often… How can I write those “I noticed” notes? And if I wait till the end of the day, and it is one of the days of seven classes in a row, who will be insulted by what I forgot by then to write?
But it is such a good idea…
This talk also really highlighted another aspect of the brilliance that is the Y.A.L.P Project, and how lucky I am to have Dr. Judy Yaron helping me implement it. In the project not only do the pupils get individual attention from someone, but because it is structured so that non-teachers can teach, pupils teach each other. And when Maeirs talks about showing the pupils we trust them with important tasks, it really means a lot to some of the kids when I say to one of them “Danny really wants to work at his Y.A.L.P Project now and you are a great teacher, will you teach him now?” I’m hoping to expand the scope of the project this year! (you can read about the project here and here).
I haven’t exhausted all I feel about this talk, but I guess this is enough for one post. I just wish I could get it subtitled into Hebrew – I can’t share it with my Hebrew speaking staff at school and at my counseling job. You may hear about it again…
* note – I say “listening” to the talk and not “watching” it as I have upgraded my mp player and can now do housework as I listen! HA!