Broken Heart

One of the MOST common and consistent issues I encounter as I work with kids who struggle academically, and sometimes physically and socially, is their own, self-created, sense of “failure”.  Once they realize how much I not only understand their plight, but also genuinely care for them, they begin to open up and fully trust me.  This typically creates conversations that are centered around how they feel about themselves and the feeling expressed most often is that of being “not smart”.  They actually say that they think they aren’t smart enough to do well in school.

I’m never surprised but it ALWAYS breaks my heart…

This sense of  not being “smart” is rooted in shame and it’s NOT their fault!  We all learn differently. Some of us are hands-on, kinesthetic learners, while others are more visual, and still others are more auditory in their learning style.  Our traditional US school setting functions in a way that benefits kids who are naturally more auditory and sequential (left-brained) in the way they process and learn new information, which  leaves about 60-70% of kids on one end of the spectrum, feeling challenged at the very least, to the other end feeling like there’s literally something wrong with them.  As evolving, developing, brilliant little beings, children need to be taught in a manner that utilizes their natural learning style, or mode of strength, in order for them to thrive.  Many teachers are aware and know how to do this but unfortunately, not enough…you simply can’t teach what you don’t know.  We’re definitely focused on the WRONG thing in education these days but that’s a topic for another post…!

So then, what can be done?

Well, this is where the FUN begins… we must SHOW them, PROVE to them that they have special gifts and that they CAN succeed.  These kids must be given the opportunity to recognize their gifts as well as their areas of struggle.  Don’t you find it a bit odd that we expect kids to excel in every subject?  If anything less than a B (sometimes even an A!) shows up on a quarterly report card the panic starts to set in.  But as adults; parents, teachers, administrators and the like, we tend to understand that people chose different career paths based upon personal gifts; strengths, and passions and therefore most likely wouldn’t choose a line of work at which we would fail or dislike (although it happens, sadly).  So why, when it comes to kids, do we expect high marks in every subject?

As a teacher and supporter of little ones, who really have no voice in the matter, I advocate that confidence is the foundational underpinning for student success in all areas of life, with NO exceptions!  I have lots of tricks up my sleeve so my work with kids is centered around teaching and practicing these strategies so that they become empowered as they move toward independence and success.  As I regularly keep parents posted via email, on the progress their kids are making, I find myself referring quite often to the level of increased confidence I see in their children…  I realize that I’m paid to increase educational achievement in the students with whom I work and I’m surely capable of making that happen, but the other, equally critical, side of the academic coin in the formula for success is CONFIDENCE!  And when kids become intrinsically confident there’s no stopping them!

Our children know when we are worried… they can sense when we think something might be a little “off”. Awareness is the first step… we must be aware of the effect our concern has.  If you have concerns about your child I highly recommend doing some independent research, find support, be proactive, get the help your child needs but counter your concern with the intention that all will be well… BELIEVE that although your child may have some current challenges, that ALL WILL be WELL.  Become the advocate your child needs so that he or she is not misunderstood as they take their educational journey… so that they do not lose their confidence!

You’ll find a tab in the menu section of my website titled “Learning Style Questionnaire”, which includes a series of 20 simple yes/no questions that will give you a foundation for beginning to understand the way your child learns best.  You are your child’s greatest advocate and knowing how they learn best will make all of the difference in their future.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch…

Kelly xo