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Caring & Trust

Teddy RoosaveltTheodore Roosevelt is credited with saying that “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” … this is particularly true when applied to kids. I believer “care” is directly related to trust.

Think how many relationships a teacher must build with students times during a single school year. In a high school on a “bloc’ schedule, teachers may teach as many as 350 students in nine months. How does one build trust in a short time with so many individuals? If student success is dependent as least as much on “caring” as expertise, building trust is critical. In the presence of an expert teacher who may not demonstrate authentic care, students are less likely to be successful.

One teacher decided to begin each new class in a different way in order to demonstrate care and build trust using images as the foundation. She shared that a most important component of the careers class she taught was self-understanding and asked students to use an image to share how it reflected “who you are” … she began by sharing herself.

This exercise at the start demonstrated oh so many things:

  • reflection has a high value … allows us to really know our truth
  • creativity in thought is encouraged
  • each student is an individual, unique and important
  • sharing and learning from each other will be a key part of the class
  • every voice will be heard; there is a forum for that in this class (while the option was given to pass; everyone spoke on the first day!)

Using images helped to create a safe space for sharing … the image took some of the focus off the student so many were less anxious about sharing. Because students and teacher had greater awareness of each other (care of each individual was demonstrated), trust developed more readily. Students learned quickly that their teacher cared each of them … and so did they about each other.

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