Monthly Article Archives: March 2008

Supporting Teachers to Enrich the Lives of ChildrenRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In my workshops for educators I describe strategies for nurturing self-discipline, self-dignity, learning, motivation, and resilience in students. At the beginning of these workshops I emphasize a point that may seem obvious but deserves highlighting, namely, that the daily words and actions of teachers can have a lifelong impact on students. Educators may not even be aware of the depth of this impact unless they reflect upon their own experiences as students and the memories they still carry of their teachers years later. In the late 1980s, while gathering material for my book The Self-Esteem Teacher, I requested that participants in many of my seminars complete an anonymous questionnaire. The first question asked responders to describe one of the best moments they ever had in school as students, a moment that involved something a teacher said or did that boosted their self-esteem and motivation. The second question asked them to recall one of their worst experiences with a teacher that lessened their sense of self-worth. In reviewing approximately 1,500 completed questionnaires I was impressed by the high number of memories, both positive and negative, that involved only a few seconds of a teacher’s time. These responses prompted me to write

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