“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.
— Dr. Haim Ginott —
We all know this quote. For me, it is permanently imprinted in my mind. It is also taped to my school computer screen. A college professor, who made a huge impact in my life, gave us this poem during my sophomore year. Our assignment was to memorize it, understand it, and live it. I lost touch with this professor a few years ago, but often think of how thankful I am to her for that single assignment. At this point in the year, I find myself re-reading this little quote on my computer screen each morning.
At the end of the year, so many of us are tired. stressed. anxious. Our kids are aching for a break from routine and we are entangled in assessments, report cards, and overall end-of-year duties. Yet we are solely responsible for the weather that our little ones experience as they walk through our classroom doors. We can create an atmosphere of hope and happiness, or one of despair and exhaustion. What a difference that choice can make to a teacher and her students.
I know so many of my students go home each day to despair and exhaustion. At this point in the school year, I am reminded to stop and remember that my classroom is a place filled with encouragement, happiness, smiles, and hugs. As adults, we take these things for granted – we are blessed with wonderful families, safe homes, and encouraging friends and co-workers. But our little ones are not often so blessed. We can so easily be the difference between a wonderful day at school and a day of despair.
Let’s remember that in this busy time of the year, a smile, hug, or encouraging word from a teacher can go a long way in a child’s life. As we count down these last few weeks, let’s remember that these days are an “instrument of inspiration” – a few more days that we have the opportunity to make a child’s day joyous. 🙂