Growing up strong

Providing personal examples for students and being there to support them will help them to grow up strong, confident and empowered.

Photo of Rachelle Poth
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I learned how to accept challenges and take that first step from my parents.  I was taught to try different things, not worry about not being the best, or being successful right away, that it was about the experience, the learning, and what you did with it all.  Over the past 20 years that I have been teaching, I have worked more on building relationships starting with the first day of school.  The content I am teaching is important, but success in my classroom starts with relationships and those connections.  I want my students to feel safe, valued, and know that it is okay to make a mistake, that we all make mistakes. I share my experiences with them and the fact that I make mistakes every day, and that it is perfectly fine!  I feel the best when I know that my students feel comfortable and valued in my classroom. 

Optional: What are some character strengths you’ve worked on with students in the past? Why did you focus on these?

Focus on helping students to be more confident,take some risks, and to not be afraid to make mistakes. I noticed students were hesitant to respond, would say "I'm wrong, pick someone else" or would write on their tests "F" or draw a frown face. Hearing the students putting themselves down, or holding themselves back from responding really bothered me. I shared my own experiences, failures, risks, & how I moved forward. I try to be someone they can come to whenever they need someone to talk to

Optional: How comfortable do you feel incorporating character education in your curriculum? (1-10, where 10 = very comfortable!)

8

Optional: Tell us more! What's one thing you wish there was more of / less of when it comes to character learning in schools?

I wish that there was more time set aside for mentoring, or flexible time where students can work together and share experiences. Having people come to speak with the students, or to speak to different groups of students and share stories, connect and show students that it is okay to take a chance, there will be bumps in the road, and that there are people who will support you.

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Photo of Kim Vinh

Rachelle, I love your thought about more time for mentoring. I'd love to see you propose a plan in our next phase, Ideate, for how that could be worked into a year: how often would you want mentors to come in (or could it be a virtual meeting?), how could it be integrated into your class curriculum? I think all students need more time to articulate their experiences with mentors and yes, with each other!