Everyday we pass by hundreds if not thousands of people that we do not know and because of this, we do not see them. The question to pose here is do we show kindness in some way?
Everyday we interact with our personal communities; communities of people that we are comfortable with, that we know. The question to pose here is do we shine light into their lives?
Everyday, as an educator, we have the opportunity and blessing to see everyone in our school community. The question to pose here is do we take the time to see them?
Even the unseen want to be seen
Let’s take a trip into a 5th grade classroom where a young man has been assigned to sit in the back of the room based on a seating chart. This young man is creative and wants to show his creativity, but never gets the opportunity too. So, he sits. He complies. He longs for that one moment to be seen.
Now, let’s move toward the front of the room, where a young lady sits. She struggles in ALL things academic, but what is on her side is the amount of knowledge she has about her passions: insects, movies, video games, and habitats. So, she sits. She fidgets. She longs for the one moment to be seen.
At the very front of the room, the teacher stands reading from a text book about the Confederate Army. The teacher asks her students to summarize with a partner what has been read. The young boy and girl participate in the activity. Would you consider these two students as “seen?”
About a week ago, I sat in an interview and what asked the following question, “Tell us about your favorite teacher in school and why?” My answer was simple. He took time to see me. He knew I wasn’t the strongest at reading or writing, but he did know that I loved to play kickball at recess and was the master at Tug-o-War. He knew I played softball and that I was passionate about art. At the beginning of the year, I was defiant. I didn’t want to go to school. I begged my mom to let me stay home. And even through all of these negative emotions, I wanted to be seen. He saw me for who I really was that year. He grew the leader inside of me. I am here to tell you now that it had nothing to do with the strategies he used or the standards he taught me. It had everything to do with the time he spent with me. I finally felt seen.
Time is on your side
We are always pushed for time. Have you ever had that one student or your own personal kiddo who wants to answer EVERY question? they raise their hand or blurt out the answer? I call these little guys, “Eager Beavers.” These are the kiddos that HAVE to be seen to function. Time for real talk: you know more about them than you do the others. Why? Because they crave your attention. The want affirmation. They steal your time.
Be intentional. Be intentional with the time you have. This will allow time to be on your side and for you to see the unseen.
They are waiting for you. They are waiting for you to get to know them. They are waiting for you to give them a chance. They are waiting for you to provide opportunities for them that fit their styles: to give them a voice. They are longing to be known for something other than just a face in the room. In our circle of influence, we must see the faces and tap into the passions to see growth.