School is more stressful than it ever has been for both students (and teachers)! But if all we do is continue to push our students harder and harder, give them the message they are never doing enough, they need to achieve higher, they need to work more, over time this will wear down their self-esteem which can then have a huge negative knock on effect.
The danger of neglecting to teach students how to build self-esteem, can lead to:
- stress, anxiety and depression
- impaired academic performance
- problems in relationships with others
- unhealthy mechanisms for coping with stress
This is not what we want for our kids! I came up with a quote that is very fitting: "The words they hear when they are young, shape the adults they become." so it's important we are sending our students the right messages. We want them to believe in themselves. We want our students to know their strengths and weaknesses and be able to set targets and have the self-confidence to go after what they want academically and in life.
We all want our students to succeed in school and perform at their best, right? Well I don't know about you, but I often hear a lot of negative self-talk in my classroom: "I can't do this", "This is too hard for me", "Nothing ever goes right for me" etc.
The aim of building our students' self-esteem is that we will have a classroom of confident students who:
- believe in themselves and their abilities
- set goals and work towards them
- are more likely to achieve their full potential and beyond
- are more likely to help others and build them up too
- are generally happier
Sounds like the ideal class to me, right?!
So how do we do it? We're not all trained in this field but we can't leave this all on the individual school counselors, especially when most teenagers need this kind of emotional support! Character Education should be naturally integrated in our teaching anyway.
What I like to do is either devote one period a week for 2 weeks, or sometimes I like to just do a short 10 minutes every day at tutor time (home room) with a morning meeting and activity over the span of 2 weeks.
I created a guided PowerPoint specifically for this very purpose so that it can be delivered in one hit or broken down into smaller chunks. The PowerPoint coaches you through each stage with no prior experience needed - score! I have also included worksheets for students to record their thoughts (which make nice wall displays too), a homework task and classroom community activities. Check out some of the resources below:
In this self-esteem unit, students are encouraged to self-reflect on a range of personal issues, recognise signs of high and low self-esteem, consider what affects it and of course, strategies to build that self-confidence up!
It's easy to deliver and creates really powerful and thought provoking discussions in the classroom.
How do you feel about Character Education and do you make time to teach it in your classroom? Drop a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!