“But I’m not good at anything.”
“But I’m not creative.”
“But I’m not smart.”
These are excuses you will hear every day in a classroom. I am the speaker of those words.
There are some days when I feel I am not good at anything.
Coming from a family of artists, I always felt I was not creative.
In seventh grade I was behind in school so I said I was not smart.
“I am a WEB leader.”
“I like to go to the zoo, aquarium, and the museum.”
“I like to read.”
These are also things you will hear in a classroom. I am also the speaker of these words.
I helped students feel comfortable in a new school even though school was still new to me.
I would take pictures of animals I experienced and share them with my family.
I would read any book I could get my hands on. I was above grade level.
In school, most people stress grades and being good in school. Why can’t we help our students figure out what strengths they have even if they are not academic?
— Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) January 20, 2018
So many students become discouraged in school because they feel they are not good at anything and teachers give up on them.
Do not give up on them!
You can have students take a strengths inventory like this to help them (and you) find out what they are good at. Maybe this still doesn’t help? Have them fill out student information cards. Ask them what their interests are. Find out what they like to do.
Once you figure out what they like and what they want to do, use that to your advantage. Try to relate the material to what they are interested in. Do they like watching soccer? Tell them that the parts of the cell function a lot like a soccer team. Do they like painting? Relate DNA to creating a piece of art. DO NOT let your student sit in the back and become more disengaged. Make a connection with that student!
“Find the fireflies.”
In my science education course, we had the opportunity to take Gallup’s Strength Finder’s assessment. It was about $20 so this is not something I would use in a high school classroom, but it did give us all some great information. It gave us five of our most prevalent traits. I want to tell you about mine and how it will impact my teaching
“You will always be drawn to the process of learning.”
“You might learn best by teaching.”
I will be a lifelong learner, but I also am thrilled to help other people learn! By teaching, I find myself digging deeper into the subject.
“You collect things.”
“Look for jobs in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day, such as teaching.”
Well this is off to a good start! My top two traits have both told me to teach not because I’d be good at it, but because it will help me grow as a person.
I love collecting new knowledge. I love getting to know my students and what they like. I love animals and just collecting random facts about them. I love learning more about teaching.
“Signs of growth in others are your fuel.”
“Teaching… might prove especially satisfying for you.”
Alright, now my top 3 have said be a teacher!
This is the trait that really resonated with me the most. I have always loved seeing kids when they get it. There is such a look they have when they finally understand what is going on. That is the look that made me want to be a teacher.
I also see this in my sports career. I started coaching my senior year in high school and I love seeing my swimmers improve. It does have to be getting fast, but even when their stroke is finally legal. I just love watching people get better!
“You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams.”
“Let your caring show.”
I have always known I was a caring person. When I was little, I would always pick out the stuffed animals that looked like they had something wrong with them because I didn’t want them to not have a home.
This will definitely help me in teaching. I will show my students I care for them and care about them more than just as my students.
“You look for areas of agreement.”
“Create interactions and forums in which people feel like their opinions are truly being heard.”
I don’t like talking politics. I don’t like it when people argue, but I try to get people to find what they have in common to help ease the disagreement.
This is a big thing for me in my classroom. I want my students to be able to discuss hard issues. Discuss does not mean argue. I want all of my students to be able to be educated about both side of the debate and form their own opinions, but also be respectful and listen to the opinion of others.
Discovering my strengths have really helped me realize where my inner drive to be a teacher comes from. I wish to find my students strengths to be able to help them find their inner drive.
I am ready to be a teacher. I am ready to make a difference.
Potential Lesson Plan
To be honest, I don’t think there needs to be a specific lesson plan to find your students strengths. I think this can just be done by interactions and having students fill out information cards to help them share with you.
Once you find out what your students are interested in, you can adjust lesson plans to help reach those students.
Rath, Tom, 1975-. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. New York :Gallup Press,