As a teacher I have had to develop many skills over the years: learning names, explaining things in a variety of ways, mediation, energy when none seems available, excitement about little things, accepting I am ‘old’ to name but a few. One skill I have really had to develop is questioning. Asking pupils to develop their answers or ideas, I have to bite my tongue a lot, but it is worth it, the look on their faces when they have that lightbulb moment, when it clicks and they understand – it’s fantastic. They are more likely to remember that idea, than they are any of the stuff I’ve told them.
Once they have had success, they are more likely to give it a go in the future. I try not to tell pupils they are wrong. Luckily I teach a subject where I rarely ask questions with a right or wrong answer, but there is always room for development and explanation, and that’s where the questioning comes in. Encouraging them with their ideas, to empower them to have a go again in the future. Empowering them to question rather than just accept things blindly. I love it!
I tend to be someone who sees a job to do and gets it done. Not necessarily in my own house/classroom/office, but elsewhere. I am also someone who thinks ‘it’s going to be much quicker if I do it myself’! I have been really challenged over the last week about both these aspects of my personality. Not everyone is a ‘doer’, some people may worry that they are treading on other peoples toes. I need to recognise that, and I need to approach people, ask them if they would mind helping out with tasks. These may be people who feel excluded from a community, or that they have no place. By encouraging them by asking to help they will be able to do it themselves later, but more importantly they will feel they are a part of the community and have a part to play.
I know someone who is able to recognise gifts in people and will encourage them to do certain jobs, which others think is crazy. But it’s great to see the response of those people and the pride. But most importantly that encouragement has empowered them to make more of difference.
Not many people react positively to being told what to do but with encouragement when doing something positive they will continue. I wouldn’t have lost the amount of weight I have, or carried on running if I had been told I had to, but simple encouragement from others has helped me continue.
Many charities talk about their role being empowering people to be able to support themselves and strengthen communities. We can do the same.
Next time there is a job that needs doing, whether that’s moving chairs, welcoming, reading, making drinks, washing up, sweeping etc… Im going to ask myself is there someone else who could help with this? Knowing me I will probably still think it’s quicker to do it myself, but I will try to encourage others to empower them to build community! Well… It’s worth a try!