What I have observed in the classroom is much more than what the eye can see, in fact it is much more about what I feel as I observe the teacher and student relationship.
Students have super-sensitive radars that allow them to read what is really going on, in the sense that they can feel the slightest element of control, oppression, manipulation, criticism, disempowerment and lack of care and many will retaliate against what they feel. They can’t really be fooled but they can sense genuine care and respect when it is expressed. It is this care and respect that can remain with students forever, even into adulthood, for in discussions with friends and family, I have found there are particular teachers that stand out for us all; a teacher that saw us for who we are, not the grades we would obtain.
Recently I attended a primary school to watch some of the younger children give a 2-minute speech. It was beautiful to see such young children having a go and presenting at a level far greater than what I had imagined possible. While sitting and listening the children struggled . . . . As the teacher observed the children, separated some of the children, supported and encouraged the children, I left feeling a real sense of appreciation of the work of teachers and the very real challenges they face in their daily working lives. At the end when it was time to give feedback to the presenting child, I cringed in fear of what may transpire for feedback in my life has always been negative.
It was to my surprise then to hear firsthand the feedback from the children in the class which was real, beautiful, supportive and without any judgment. This was so amazing to feel, a real lesson on true wisdom at play.
If the tenderness of love in its pure unadultered form was allowed to blossom without any shame or fear in the education system we would certainly feel its power – we would see children blossom and a wisdom and intelligence come through like never before. How do I know? It’s there already at times playing out in our classrooms, as I have personally discovered, supported beautifully by teachers that allow our children to shine. It is these teachers that make a real difference to human life and what a blessing that is for us all.