This blog post is from a return guest blogger, Barb Istas–MN teacher.
Confidence is a gift. It is that little hint of attitude that starts with a feeling either within you or it’s provided by a pat on the back from somebody else. In my classroom I try to build confidence all day long. I believe that confidence is the inspiration that leads us onward and upward in all our learning.
My students read and write a lot. While we are reading and writing, there are many sparkles of success to notice and build upon: an impeccable word choice, a terrific title, a strong and persuasive reason to support an opinion, finding the personification in text, making a connection from one selection to another text, or understanding and expressing a theme from any story. These are all skills that add up to excellent reading and writing. From a straight standards teaching viewpoint, this is the common core of my job.
I value the common core standards as I guide my students along the 6th grade trail. They truly are a road map that leads us through all the critical literacy skills. But deeper down in the core of learning bubbles the confidence each kid needs to really take off as a reader and writer. My bigger job as a 6th grade teacher is to help my students notice their own strengths, praise them enough for them to feel that glorious sense of confidence which will drive all learning and skill acquisition from that point forward.
Once I know that I can do something with even a little bit of flair or success, I want to try it again and again. This is the practice that leads to skill and success – in anything!
So it goes – my radar needs to be up. The searchlight is on. I need to notice and praise. When confidence comes, students are energized to engage in their own learning. And this is serious teacher fun.