Sunday, May 8, 2011

My favorite success story!

While student teaching in third grade I attended a diversity workshop through the college I was attending. The keynote speaker talked to us about believing in ourselves and asked us to say, "I am a genius." You can imagine a group of adults repeating this phrase, feeling silly. Now think of how a child feels when an adult tells them they can do something, but they don't believe in themselves.

I started a respect lesson with my students by reading, The Crayon Box That Talked, by Shane DeRolf. We discussed how we all needed each other to make a complete picture. We discussed respecting others and ourselves. Then I asked the students to repeat the phrase, "I am a genius".

At this point most of the students thought I was crazy, but they played along. I noticed one boy not saying it and asked him to say it. He quietly put his head down and said he was not a genius. I told him that he would eventually believe in himself and some day he would tell me on his own.

A few days later I walked by as he was finishing an AR test on the computer. He had scored a 100%. I asked if he thought he was a genius yet and he told me no. I reassured him that someday he would believe it and tell me he was. A few more days went by and he scored a 100% on a spelling test. His teacher told me this was the highest score he had ever had on a spelling test. I quietly brought the test to his desk, set it down, and told him I was proud of him for getting the highest score he'd ever gotten. I went back to my table to grade the rest of the tests when I realized he was standing in front of me. I asked what I could do for him and he said, "Mrs. Johnston, I am a genius."

I nearly cried when he told me that! He finally believed in himself and realized what I had known all along - every child can find success if they only look within themselves and determine what success means to them!

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