I have really been putting myself in the pit over the past few weeks in preparation for the year ahead. Put me in front of any kid and I would say I know how to engage most of them. But standing in front of a group of adults as always been my kryptonite!! Seeing as I will be speaking to different sized crowds of people this year I decided to take action and take a public speaking course. And I am loving every minute of it.
Going from 12 ammmms and aaaaaahs in my speeches in the first week to very few, sometimes no filler words in my most recent speech I am very pleased with my progress. It also gave me another element of empathy for the learners as I got to really feel what they are going through when they are anxious or when they are trying a new opportunity. I have also grown my knowledge about what is important to engage the audience and this counts for my learners but also the teachers and parents I intend on working with this year.
One of my first speeches was about my realisation in my first year of teaching that resilience is way more important than 'knowing everything' as it helps us grow. Here is a small part of my speech that shows why I feel it is key to talk about the snakes and ladders of life......
The Snakes and Ladders of Life
Yes, I am a cliche. One of my earliest memories is wanting to be a teacher, telling my teddies what to do. This was the start of my life ladder. Filled with checklists, ticking off each life goal to get to University, doing everything ‘right’. I thought ‘when I grow up’ started at 21 when I would graduate as a teacher and know all the answers to life and that would be me ready to be a grown up…..
That was one of my biggest failures to date! And the start of many failures to come. It made me reflect on what I thought was important as a teacher but also as a person. This is when I started to look into the idea of having a growth mindset founded by Carol Dweck. One of the most important quotes that impacted me during this time was “why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?’
This is when my approach changed from the ladder of life to ….. the snakes and ladders of life where you need resilience, adaptability and humour to play. First, rather than encouraging my learners to get things right I started focusing on challenging myself and designing my lessons to promote resilience, empowering myself and others to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Although we do not know what the future holds I feel we have to attempt to understand what qualities and skills will be needed/desired to be successful adults: creative, risk takers who can self regulate and adapt to a changing environment (with confidence or resilience?). - That's my thoughts anyways. Helping children to accept and understand what ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable so you are prepared for anything’ means.