Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Strength in Numbers

On Sunday, the church sermon was about strength and how a piece of wood can break but if you have a bunch of wood together, it is much harder to break.  As I listened I think about how I apply this lesson in my teaching also.

My students know they have a disability and weaknesses. They might not completely understand about the disability but they know they have trouble with academics. This is not something new to many of them because they have struggled with this all their lives.

I try to help my students understand their weaknesses and accept them and also to work their way around them. To do this, they need to find out what their strengths are which is something hard for them to do since they don’t realize that they have any strengths. Since they have failed so often, they feel they lack strengths of any kind which isn’t true. Everyone has strengths and just need to figure out what they are.

Once the students figure out what their strengths are, I try to show them that it is okay for all of us to have different strengths. When we put all our strengths together, we are altogether stronger as a group.

I try to impress upon my students that because we all have different weaknesses and strengths, we need to watch out for each other. Instead of ridiculing each other for weaknesses, we need to jump in and give help when needed. If we all take that attitude, we all can be successful over time. It is too easy to knock someone down when they are already feeling weak but it is another thing to bolster someone up when they need it.

We have many discussions about why it is easier to ridicule someone and point out their weaknesses instead of helping them focus on their strengths. Understanding why they do certain things helps my students see how they can change their behavior.

This may take some time and practice because this doesn’t happen overnight. When students miss the opportunity, I try to talk about it and see how they could have acted differently. The more we talk about it and practice it, the easier it becomes. Then when they are in different situations where I’m not available, they can feel more comfortable acting appropriately.

This is an important job skill to learn and can help students in the future become successful in the workplace.

How do you encourage strength in the classroom? Please share.

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