Tuesday, March 9, 2010
You've Got the Power
Another teacher remarked that she had brought trash for the kids to use...and her tone was an unfavorable one. Kids immediately began calling the items "trash," especially the paper wads. They used them reluctantly and quickly moved to change to something else when the time came. Weeks later, they still refer to the items as trash and want to quickly trade whenever they can. Last week, while one child was tapping the paper wads together, another child said, "He's got the trash!" The first kid immediately dropped them and wouldn't play until he moved to the next instrument.
We, as teachers, have the power to influence the kids in ways that go beyond learning. Our reactions, comments, facial expressions, and words can impact how kids feel about what they are doing and even how they feel about themselves. How I wish that teacher had enthusiastically said, "Look at what we can use as instruments. We can use things that normally would be thrown away to make rhythms and music." I think then the kids would be excited to use "trash" as instruments.
This made me think of the Spiderman quote: "With great power comes great responsibility." If an idea seems unusual to me, I should help explore it (not dismiss/reject it immediately). I shouldn't try to impose my interests and tastes on the kids. I need to help them explore a variety of ideas and develop their own unique interests and tastes.
Photo from Flickr.com