Some of our staff went to a Professional Development workshop today entitled, “Making Sense of Children: How educators can help support students to realize their full potential“. During this presentation, Colleen Drobot presented us with the material of Dr. Gordon Neufeld. This is the first of a series of presentations Colleen will make to a large group and later, hopefully, she will be able to do follow up work with smaller groups of (or individual) teachers who are dealing with very challenging children.
When we arrived this morning, we noticed that the handout was the same handout we received when we had Colleen present this summer to our staff and other staff from various schools around our district. Knowing how much work I had waiting for me back at school, part of me thought that I should just head to work and just forgo the presentation. I am so glad that I remained to listen to Colleen speak.
While I heard the same message from Colleen, I heard it differently: through different, more knowing eyes. Her words resonated with me even more than they did just 4 weeks ago. I could now connect her stories and descriptions with students I have now come to know and care about (even after only a month). Her words meant much more to me now. Not only could I now put faces of students to the stories she told and descriptions she gave, but I could also put faces of teachers to those who could possibly need a little coaching in this area.
Colleen’s message spoke to me not only as a teacher and an administrator, but also as a parent.
While the day was full of wonderful concepts, thoughts, and emotions, I would like to share a few quotes from Colleen’s presentation today: some quotes that touched my heart and are at the heart of Making Sense of Children:
“We can’t have their minds until we have their hearts.”
“Attachment is the #1 need for people – even greater than hunger needs.”
“When dealing with the immature, we need to win their hearts to open their minds to our influence.”
I would suggest that these statements, but the last in particular, hold true when dealing with all people, not just the immature. Building strong, healthy, caring, trusting relationships with people is essential and imperative to really do good work with them and have your influence actually make a difference. Without “winning their hearts” their minds will be closed to your influence, thoughts, suggestions, and methods of change.
So, with this in mind, Colleen’s presentation could have, in fact, been titled: “Making Sense of People” (not just children).
I look forward to continuing to learn from Colleen about Making Sense of
Children People in coming sessions.
Let me just finish this post with one more very important quote:
It is not so much what we do, but rather WHO WE ARE to our students that matters most.
We can and do make a difference every single day – let’s make it a difference that we can be proud of and that will help these children through the rest of their lives.