Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Teachers in a school all rally around and do what's best for children. Always. The children are the beating heart of any school and we praise them, help them grow, nurture everything we can to help them flourish. But what about the grown ups? I don't know about you but I really feel good inside when someone actually takes the time to point out something positive they've seen in my classroom or how I've dealt with a situation or something they think would be great to share with others. There's always an offering of what can be improved on when working in a school environment but - personally, I feel this is only valuable if delivered in a supportive way.
Isn't it easy to look at a situation, some books, a lesson, a conversation, a display a whatever, and point out what could be better? As humans, we are wired to spot the negative, that's how we have survived for so many years on the planet! By spotting possible threats and avoiding being eaten. Our world now is very different, although, in my 11 years teaching there have been times after a lesson observation or two that've I've felt like I was going to be eaten alive. Another time. The observations or conversations we hold in our hearts are the ones that make us feel like the hard work is worth it. That someone has not9iced the care and effort we put into our demanding jobs. When someone spots a strength of ours.
I adore the VIA character strengths and virtues. I wish the whole world could use these as a global language. My heart is happy to know than more and more children are beginning to access the character strengths through school and many adults are too. At my school, as part of a well-being INSET, I introduced the character strengths through the card sets I made
(see shop :). One of the activities was to spot strengths in another person from their team and explain why they gave their teammate that card. The cards were spread across the table and off they went. It was so lovely to see everyone sharing the cards, looking at the different strengths and offering them to each other. It gave everyone the opportunity to feel like the children in our classes, when we spend a little time 1:1 talking about something positive with them. So many different reactions emerged. Someone felt 'like a little kid', someone felt like 'that was really lovely to know that someone thinks that about me', someone felt shy because they weren't used to 'being the centre of attention like that'. General consensus - lovely to know that someone sees strength in you.
What would our learning environments, quality assurances, personal appraisals, learning walks, professional dialogues be like if everyone shared a common strengths language? It doesn't mean there will be no feedback on things to improve - far from it. But it just might make people feel like they are doing really well and can grow further in another area if they are encouraged to grow through strengths, not to 'fix' weakness.
Strength spot in each other. Just watch the smile of the person in front of you when you celebrate their strengths with them.