Goal four asks us to reveal their strengths. This means talking to a student or colleague and sharing with them traits that you admire about them.
I had a student that lacked confidence. He didn’t dare answer any questions in case he was wrong and was so afraid to speak in class I wondered when I would hear him speak. He rarely smiled and just looked scared most of the time.
I quickly realised that he was that one student who I knew I had to continually talk to and make him feel like he had something to offer the class. I would highlight all the things he did well and if he struggled to understand a task we would work together until he understood.
Maths was an area that I knew he enjoyed and felt more confident in. He had some really strong mathematical understandings and I slowly encouraged him to share these. When finally he shared something with the whole class I was so excited. He smiled a cheeky smile that said ‘I did it!’, and that made my day.
He was also an amazing artist. He would draw little pictures at the bottom of his page to avoid writing. I told him how great his pictures were and he looked shocked. The class quickly worked out how good he was at drawing and were often asking him to draw for them and to share his drawings. I made sure I included lots of activities that involved drawing.
As his reading level improved his confidence grew. He knew he could attempt tasks on his own and felt empowered by this. Other staff started to come up to me and say how happy he looked and that they would actually see him laughing. I was so happy to see his attitude towards school changing!
I continued to encourage and support him over the year and was asked to teach him for a second year as we had seen so much progress. I knew that I had to keep encouraging him so that he didn’t lose the small amount of confidence he had gained.
The following year we saw drastic improvements in his reading and writing and he became more and more confident. At the end of the second year I was sad to see him move on to a new class and a new teacher but I knew that he was going with a positive attitude and a smile.