A few years ago, one of my daughters (the tween, Mags) seemed to be struggling with self esteem issues. She would make a mistake doing something and would call herself "stupid" or "dumb". It was really bothersome to me because we always tried to emphasize the positive in our kids and never called her names like that. So every time she would say something like that, I would try to explain to her that her self talk eventually became her true opinions of herself. That she needed to change her narrative about herself, in order to become more confident. I would quote Mike Dooley over at TUT and say "Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones." I love his newsletter!
Over time she has gotten much more confident, not necessarily because of the things I said (because what tween really cares what their parents thing or say to them, right?) One AMAZING person came into her life for a year. He had a huge impact on her self esteem and confidence level.
That person turned out to be her 5th grade teacher. My daughter and I decided we loved him the instant we met him at the back to school night at her school. He invited us right in and showed us around. We stopped at his extensively library and talked quite a while about books, which is what really drew us to him. He talked about his teaching philosophy. He really encouraged kids to make mistakes and be proud of the person they were. He was an amazing teacher, for sure. He was one of those rare teachers that actually taught the student, not the curriculum. I mean, YES, he taught what he was supposed to in the curriculum, but he taught it in a way that worked for each student. And he was so very encouraging to all of the kids. He not only talked to them about school and work, but he taught them about being kind to others, not being afraid to be who you are, not trying to fit in all the time...all the good stuff that kids need to hear from someone that isn't their parent. What really sealed the deal was the random emails he would send to us parents about our kids. One Friday, she took a math test that she told him and I that she was sure she had failed. On Saturday morning, he sent the email below. (it was spaced out quite a bit so she couldn't see what was at the bottom.)
This is why we loved that teacher! He was always doing stuff like this. She felt encouraged and fearless the entire year. And I really watched her confidence soar that year and ever since. It's amazing what one great teacher can do!
Have your kids ever had a teacher that really helped mold them? I'd like to hear about it in the comments!