In the post, The Space Between, I write that pre-school and grades 1st, 2ndand 3rdare the times when teachers have the greatest influence to affect a child’s behavior and view of their world. I do not intend that a teacher’s potential to influence does not continue to exist well into adulthood, but that the earlier a child is related to the greater the opportunity for them to be influenced at their core.
We must accept that the young child that comes to the beginning grades I refer to is already well formed by their parents and the stuff that takes place around the kitchen table. Regardless, the teacher still has immense (potential) influence on the child. Here I specifically do not mean the academics (reading, writing and numbers, etc.), but also their emotional, behavioral and perceptual beings. I refer here to one’s sense of membership and connection to their peers as well as their leader, the teacher.
So this paper avoids any reference to academics the teacher teaches, but to the way the teacher leads. The teacher’s behavior (not words) as a leader is no small thing, but in my opinion the most important message they convey and teach. The teacher says so much through their behavior and attitude that the influence they exude is magnified.
So it is as leader of the group that the teacher teaches what belonging and individual importance means. The behavior and words that mean inclusion, respect, regard, listening, understanding and participation all mix together creating an environment each child is influence by. A feeling of self occurs and each child experiences a change.
As leader the teacher does not set the boundaries of the classroom, but with the students participation they are created and abided by. Support of each other is established as is membership in a community. Each child is no longer a pawn to be lectured to and tethered to their adults. They know the difference and why week-ends get in their way. Sy
I need a leader——-Not to lead me, but show me———-We care for each other.