Amazing Kids

Amazing Kids

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Do My Kids Need the Most?

We had a great holiday break. Our family spent a lot of time together and we were able to make some wonderful memories with our extended family as well. I love and appreciate so many things about my family and am incredibly blessed for the positive energy we share when we're all together.

Although I didn't go into the building the first week of our break, I did do a lot of thinking about what my kids need from me most of all. They need a teacher who knows the curriculum well and knows what they need to know in order to be ready for next year. Not only do I need to know the curriculum; I need to know how to convey those concepts in such a way that my students can discover, learn, and even teach each other. They need a teacher who keeps up to date with best teaching practices and new technologies. They need a teacher who helps them feel secure and safe, too. I don't mean just physically, although that's obviously a priority in the forefront of our lives right now. The security and safety they need is also in being able to risk being wrong, making mistakes, asking questions that seem "dumb" to others. They need to feel accepted by me. They need me to be a great role model, too. All these things and more are the "job" of a great teacher.

We've been back at school for a week now. I've still been mulling this question over: "What DO my kids need most from me?" Some of my kids have wonderful homes with loving parents and stability and a high degree of security. Some are even affluent. Some are not. Unfortunately, some of my kids are really having a tough go of things. Really, really tough. Yet I believe that every single student, whether secure or insecure at home, still needs something from her teacher that is going to be perceived differently than if it were coming from her parent or guardian. Some kids get it from their parents and some don't, but it's different coming from a teacher. Thinking back on my elementary years, although I wasn't able to identify it then, I think the one thing that made a difference in my view of myself was this one element.

What is this one thing? Admiration. I wanted my teachers to admire something about me. And it had to be stated. It could be my writing or my reading, or my ability to do my multiplication tables quickly, or my kindness toward others, my helpfulness or my musical ability, or even the new dress I was wearing. If my teacher admired something about me, my confidence soared. If, however, there was nothing in me to admire, if I was consistently admonished rather than admired, I considered myself worth less. Sometimes even worthless.

Each one of my students has something I admire. Each and every one. In daily conversations I get to discover and admire more of the heart of the kids in my class. I get to find out what makes them tick. I get to hear the victories and heartaches and struggles. In one I admire boldness while in another I admire the quiet strength in knowing her goals without tooting her own horn. There is admiration for one who has an incredibly quick wit and maybe even more admiration for another who is tenacious in his work habits because he knows academics are hard for him.

Every one of my kids has admirable traits that cry out to be acknowledged by me, the teacher. And when I admire them, I see their lives change. For good.


  1. Admiration speaks to finding value in someone. Isn't this what we should do with ALL people we come across? Value them. For SOMETHING. Figure out what that something is.
    And by the way, I value you. Well said, Suzanne, keep it up.

  2. Well said - Great point !
    I think we all want that from people in our lives
    I remember having that teacher in Elementary that did that.
    It can be life changing at that moment. You always see the good
    in people ;)