I was helping in my son's classroom a while ago when I spotted a poster that reads, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart" and I started thinking…
Teachers are such an important part of a child's life. A teacher's support determines how safe a child feels in school. A teacher's reinforcement determines how much risk a child will take in the classroom. A teacher's empathy and understanding determines how important a child feels in school. A teacher's love of his or her job and students determines a child's motivation and attitude toward education.
And the effect that a teacher has on a child does not end when the school bell rings at the end of the day. Rather, those feelings that were developed in the classroom go home with the child and, to a large extent, determine what sort of evening the child and his or her family have. The importance of a teacher to a child is phenomenal and cannot be overemphasized.
All my children are fortunate to have remarkable and wonderful teachers. Consequently, the three of them love going to school almost as much as they love using teacherisms.
For example, one of Hannah's favorite phrases is used when I mess up; she looks at me with understanding and says, "It's okay to make mistakes, mama, because you're only learning."
Rachael's favorite phrase is used to preface most of her chores; with a glint in her eye, she says, "I'm just going to do my best, mama, because that's all I can do!"
But perhaps my favorite is Jacob's response to his sisters when one of them says something he doesn't like. With his hand on his heart he says, "Don't say that because words can break my heart."
Like most parents, I hear teacherisms daily. And every time I hear one, my heart floods with gratitude for the wonderful teachers who make my children feel safe, important, and successful in the classroom, and who are helping my children achieve emotional good health.
There is much talk today about how to measure a teacher's worth. I think we need only look at the students. Children mirror teachers' words and actions, and the content of those reflections show a teacher's greatness.
Just a thought.
Copyright © 2007 Rhia Roberts
Rhia is a true citizen of the world! Raised in Wales, she has taught in Wales, Kuwait, Zambia, Borneo, and the US. In addition, she has spent about two years backpacking around Europe, Africa and South-East Asia. Now she lives in California, US with her husband and their three multi-ethnic, adopted children. Rhia hopes to publish a coffee-table book from her Just Thoughts series in the future.