One of the most memorable questions I’ve ever encountered in my life was in a Philosophy class at uni…
“How do you know you exist?”
This question encompassed differentiating real and dream worlds – How do I know I’m not dreaming? At the core of every possible answer explored then was affirmation – by self (Déscartes sor sum ergo sum- I think therefore I am – comes to mind) and by others.
For me, affirmation is declaring what is true (perceived or real). It can be a mere full-stop or a full-blown exclamation mark.
As a teacher, I see that need for affirmation in my students’ faces. As a mother, I see it on my kids’ faces, too. It is certainly an essential part of learning as it helps guide learners towards the learning goal. It is an essential teaching and learning strategy.
I recently shared a learning activity with some colleagues. Often I feel insecure about sharing resources because I have little teaching experience. This time, I believed I really had something worthwhile (worth a post in its own right) – self-affirmation. Imagine my joy when an experienced teacher told me how good it was and how her students enjoyed it, too. That was affirmation by others.
Affirmations are motivating – I know because I’ve just experienced it.
Maybe it’s something I’ve always known. Blogging about this now helps me cement it further and add to my ever-growing teaching and learning strategies.
I need affirmations as a teacher; I am a learner after all. This is humbling and empowering at the same time.
I make no apologies for being a beginning teacher – I try my best. I know I have much to learn about teaching, learning, relationships, education/school culture (vs. corporate culture), teen psychology, technology, motivating and being motivated, etc. etc. etc. Every little bit helps.