Our students come into our classrooms not knowing who we are or anything about us, yet we seem to already know so much about them. We get the opportunity to listen to their parents share detailed information at parent sharing conferences and hear from their previous teachers about what worked well for each child. As teachers, we also give our students plenty of opportunities to share with their peers in the classroom. So what about the more introverted children who may not share as readily as others? They are usually the ones who may need a push to feel safe in order to tell their stories. We are the leaders and role models in our classrooms and have a responsibility to create a safe space not only for learning, but also for the opportunity to find out what makes them “tick.” When we become vulnerable and share our own passions and interests, they not only learn more about us, but also realize the importance of opening up to others.
In my classroom, my students learn from day one that I am passionate about dance and music. I share this passion not by “telling” them, but rather by “showing” the happiness that dancing brings to me. We dance and sing everyday, and soon I find that some of the more introverted students are joining in the fun with smiling faces!
Most recently I became interested in learning more about mindfulness and the importance of using it in my personal life. It has impacted me in a very positive way, so I naturally wanted my students to understand the benefit of being present and mindful. There are many ways to be mindful, including a daily sitting meditation practice. After we all mediate together, we reflect on our practice. We focus on what helped us stay present, and I learn so much from them! They realize that learning never stops, and one can always find new interests and passions to share with others.
I feel blessed to be able to teach in a school where I can share who I really am with my students and community. As I lead by example, my students become more willing and able to open up without a fear of judgment.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Sarah Mokotoff serves the Trinity School community as a Second Grade Lead Teacher.