Nothing is as valuable as encouragement

Last week we were faced with a task which had more to do with real life than first met the eye. Split into five groups, we were given envelopes with different resources in them and asked to make something with our items to give to a new student at university. The thing was, as the group number increased the resources that the group was given decreased. Not only amount of resources goes down, the amount of encouragement they received went down. The groups who had lots of resources also received lots of encouragement, likewise the groups without many items received no encouragement whatsoever.
This was very insightful for me. Not everyone comes from the same background and has the same privileges. Not every child in a class has the same things. From experience, I think it’s possible to do things with less resources than others however the encouragement is what can really make the difference.
As teachers, we need to be aware that not every child sitting in our classrooms will have had a stable start in life. They haven’t all had the comfortable upbringing. They have all walked different paths in their short lives. Each individual is on their own journey through life, just as we are. No two journeys or upbringings are exactly the same as everyone reacts differently to different situations. Although we may not be able to solve all these problems and ensure that every child has identical resources, we can ensure that every child receives the encouragement that they need to develop into a confident individual. Encouragement is an amazing thing that has the ability to change a child’s life. As extreme as that may sound, it is very true. When I was younger, the encouragement of one teacher totally transformed my life. It allowed me to develop confidence that I lacked.
As much as we cannot provide every child with material possessions, we can give every child our time and encouragement. That’s worth more than most people realise.

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