Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
September 27, 2019 Two Wolves
In Craft a Life You Love, Amy Tangerine tells the Cherokee legend of the two wolves:
A grandfather tells his grandson about a fight going on inside all of us as if it was a fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil: He is anger, resentment, inferiority, and lies. The other is good: He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, goodness, and truth.
The grandson thinks about this for a minute and then asks, “Which wolf will win?”
The grandfather’s reply comes quickly: “The one you feed.”
Teachers are always grappling with arbitrary targets created by people outside schools, like the governor who decides every third grader will be a proficient reader by spring. Never mind the scrambling that happens throughout the state to shift resources to one grade and figure out how to meet a goal that in practice makes absolutely no sense. The goal often has little to do with nurturing a lifelong passion for reading and writing in kids. It will destroy your creative soul if you let it.
There are always people one step, two steps, or 12 steps up the ladder who will want to define achievement for you, if only because it fuels their own ego and ambition. You can’t get around being stuck with those targets, but you can do your best not to feed them in your classroom. There are always two wolves. Which one are you feeding today?
This week we look at how to build confidence in students and teachers. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Katrina Edwards confers with Camilla, a struggling reader. She is a child who has no confidence in herself. The Compliment Conference is a way to acknowledge and build upon Camilla’s strengths, and boost her self-esteem at the same time.
Ann Marie Corgill questions whether her second graders are ready for peer response. She finds that with some guidance and construction of anchor charts together, the answer is a resounding yes.
The cultural norm of often asking young children what they want to be when they grow up can undermine confidence in insidious ways. Here’s why teachers and parents need to ask a different question.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
We can teach students craft moves for their writing and how to punctuate. But how do we build their confidence? Melanie Meehan helps Aaron see his needs as a writer, but even more importantly, his strengths.
Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.
In this week’s video, Christy Rush-Levine helps eighth grader Bridget recognize a strength in her reading, and coaxes her to use the skill while analyzing her current book.
In an encore video, Mandy Robek finds that kindergartner Mikey is lost in knowing how to use his time well during reading workshop. Her conference moves him from deflated to inspired.
Lead Literacy now has a new home as the Leaders Lounge at Choice Literacy. We’ll be posting the new content updates here in the Leaders Lounge section of the Big Fresh newsletter.
“Did I do anything right?” Suzy Kaback receives this question in a note from a gifted teacher that gives her pause. Suzy wonders if avoiding praise is damaging her professional relationships. She decides to give more feedback for continuation, which is praise’s smarter cousin for coaches.
No matter their level of skill or experience, teachers can find their confidence shaken. Melanie Quinn analyzes some of the reasons for teacher insecurity, and how literacy coaches can help.
Are you always looking for the perfect joke to spice up a staff meeting? You might want to be careful with using humor in presentations or at the workplace, especially if you’re a woman. That was the surprising finding from researchers who studied how humor affects perceptions of leaders.
No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly, and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
Miguel De Cervantes
That’s all for this week!
Brenda Power is the founder of Choice Literacy. She worked for many years as a professor at the University of Maine and an editor at Stenhouse Publishers. Her publications as an author include Living the Questions and The Art of Classroom Inquiry. She has worked as a book editor and video producer for many of the authors featured at this site.
We continue our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.
We conclude our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.