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Reassuring words of progress and ways to improve cause us to soar to previously unreached heights

The moment when someone recognizes and acknowledges your efforts.
Many of us live for them,
Children, in particular.

I see it daily.
In small group book clubs.
Students use inflection not for emphasis, but to indicate, “I decoded this word properly, right?”

Tell me I’m right
Tell me I’ll be all right
Tell me I’m good/great/improving

Encouragement, a staple necessary in our pantry of success.

The title “encourager” feels burdensome though, sloppy fourths.
In group work, each child has a role:
Scribe, Equipment Manager, Reporter, Encourager

It’s the most valuable role.
Forcing you to constantly evaluate morale, effort, improvement, success.
It requires quiet observation—but, done well it can empower each member, making the whole group successful.

And, encouragement is packaged in kindness. That’s critical to note.

I once had a swim coach that was a former Navy Seal.
He barked…like a seal.
Me, underwater
He, walking beside me as I swam, yapping above water.
The sound was hideous.
I stopped swimming.
“Why are you yelling?”
Something about him, his little stopwatch, Why did you stop? Swim! Come on!
That relationship didn’t last long…

Encouragement is a motivator.
You see it often between parents and their children
Teachers and their students
Friends who are collaborating on a common goal

The music started
The teachers danced!
Spontaneous applause arose from the audience
Cheering teachers, clapping to the peppery beats!

“Go T! Go T! Go-go-go T!” A colleague cheered another
It was a lively chant, awesome, of course, but not out of the ordinary—we are a lively bunch.

What happened next caught my eye
Stopped my heart.

T walked back to her seat.
He looked back over his shoulder, “Miss T, good job!” He gave her two thumbs up.
All while hanging out with our young K students who clamored to have his attention.

He was a Sixth Grade buddy—a leader in a school that nurtures Three Year Olds to Sixth grade.

Encouraging a teacher.
Modeling leadership for all those around him—including me!

“Miss T, good job!” said by one cool kid.

Hours later he’d be in a basketball game facing off against the Teacher/Dancer/Baller—he recognized her talent, perhaps because he possesses it.

His moves on the court were as astute as his skill of encouragement.
Not only did he sink the shots he took, he had an incredibly smooth passing game

I could see his father in the crowd

What he did on the court was impressive, but I suspect his ability to recognize, acknowledge, and encourage others is a talent that will prove beneficial despite his setting.

I was in the crowd


2 thoughts on “#SOL15.Encourager.Another.Rock.Star.Story

  1. Tricia Ebarvia March 8, 2015 / 2:49 am

    What a wonderful reminder of how much even the smallest encouragement can make a world of difference! In the busyness and stress of day-to-day teaching, I think it’s sometimes easy to forget how much power we have as teachers (especially when we are increasingly in less control over what and how we teach). But we have tremendous opportunities to touch students in small, profound ways. This was a great reminder of that – thank you.

  2. LSquared March 8, 2015 / 5:46 am

    You see the ability to true encouragement in students, I suspect, because you have it. Some put it on and it is words without insight. And, without, as you said, kindness.
    Puffing up another isn’t it.
    I liked the way you take your reader through this narrative. Thoughtfully.

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