"" THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: Sticks and stones may break my bones but ...


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Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sticks and stones may break my bones but ...

I was helping in my son's classroom a while ago when I spotted a poster that reads, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart" and I started thinking…

Teachers are such an important part of a child's life. A teacher's support determines how safe a child feels in school. A teacher's reinforcement determines how much risk a child will take in the classroom. A teacher's empathy and understanding determines how important a child feels in school. A teacher's love of his or her job and students determines a child's motivation and attitude toward education.

And the effect that a teacher has on a child does not end when the school bell rings at the end of the day. Rather, those feelings that were developed in the classroom go home with the child and, to a large extent, determine what sort of evening the child and his or her family have. The importance of a teacher to a child is phenomenal and cannot be overemphasized.

My one and only child is fortunate to have remarkable and wonderful teachers. Consequently, he loves going to school almost as much as he loves using teacherisms.

For example, one of Ijat's favourite phrases is used when I mess up; he looks at me with understanding and says, "It's okay to make mistakes, because you're only learning."

But perhaps my favourite is Ijat's response to his friends when one of them says something he doesn't like. With his hand on his heart he says, "Don't say that because words can break my heart."

Like most parents, I hear teacherisms daily. And every time I hear one, my heart floods with gratitude for the wonderful teachers who make my child feels safe, important, and successful in the classroom, and who are helping my child achieves good emotional health.

There is much talk today about how to measure a teacher's worth. I think we need only look at the students. Children mirror teachers' words and actions, and the content of those reflections show a teacher's greatness!

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