Do You See It?: A Good Read For the First Day of School

I had to chuckle when I saw this sign posted in our high school cafeteria a few days ago. I had to chuckle because I knew that not everyone who looked at it saw the error.

Today teachers have so many responsibilities: teaching more technology without proper resources, pressured to raise test scores, teaching tolerance and anti-bullying programs, teaching students who are hungry, in addition to teaching our core content  . . .

I know most of us do what we can in spite of difficult circumstances, but we can’t forget that every child who walks through that doorway has a special gift and it’s our responsibility to tap into that gift, tease it out if you will,  for that child to become successful in school.

An educator friend, Patti Ross at  Learn More Everyday sent me this a few blogs ago:

As each semester starts I use a poem that uses shells as a metaphor for students to remind faculty (not that they need the reminder!) about how special students are. This is a poem that has been around for years. Here it is.

You are probably wondering why you’ve been given a seashell. It is a gift to you to help you reflect on another gift you are about to receive: Your Students. Let’s take a few minutes to consider what the shell can tell us about them.

Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken. So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.

Maybe your shell looks beautiful. Each student in your class has a special beauty. Discover it and help others to notice it and appreciate it.

Maybe your shell is hard. Remember that the shell has a cover to protect a sea creature. Sometimes our students build a hard shell to protect themselves from harm. Open the hard outer shell to nurture the life within.

Maybe you noticed that your shell has pieces chipped away or broken off. Some students have had difficult experiences that have chipped away their positive self-image and broken their spirit. Help to rebuild their self-image and rekindle their enthusiasm and motivation.

Maybe you noticed that the shell was once very tiny and seemed to be built up one layer at a time. Your students are like that. Each one has a small core of knowledge and experience. Some will have many layers built around this core. Others have only a few. Others are still very small. Take your students as they are and add carefully to their growth.

Maybe your shell looks plain and rather commonplace. Sometimes you may feel that there is nothing special about a student. Look again. You will see that each student is unique, just as each shell in unique. Help each student to realize his or her importance or worth.

The shell you have in your hand is unique. It was carried to shore by the ocean just for you. What will you do with it now that it is yours? Each student in your class is unique, too. Each one is in your hands now.

What will you do with your students now that they are yours?

©Teresita Abad Doebley All rights reserved 2009-2011.

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9 thoughts on “Do You See It?: A Good Read For the First Day of School

  1. Excellent idea and one I wish every teacher would employ… I do believe that all children learn in different ways and if we approach them where they are, then the school experience is healthier… Have a great school year Terri,. 🙂

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