Why we need to Care for the whole child?
A teacher, by definition, is a person who teaches, especially in a school. But a teacher is not just responsible for grades or learning of a student. They have to care for the whole child, because all these factors contribute to a child’s growth. If there is something bothering a student, and the teacher doesn’t know about it, you wouldn’t know why a student is underperforming or why they are not talking to their friends, etc. You can ask the student, but they will only reveal it to you unless they trust you. The teacher must create a safe environment for kids to share. It feels good when an adult listen, without judgement.
Joni Sullivan, drama teacher at the Springfield Renaissance School in Springfield, Massachusetts, has made her classroom a "safe haven" to which her students can come when they are feeling down or need someone to listen without judgment.
"Sometimes they don't even want me to say anything," Sullivan says, "they just want someone to listen that they know cares about them."
“I think that the way that I connect with kids is I am really honest, I smile, so they tend to trust you more when you are smiling,” says Joni Sullivan.
She also says that you should not always show that you need to be the teacher, or you need to be strict. When you smile or use a sense of humour, it helps the kids to know that their teacher is on their side. This makes a huge difference. They feel like you are one of them, you are connected. She asks the students if they want her advice on an issue, or they just want her to listen.
“There is a reason why you are a teacher. You have to care about the whole child and not just what the grade says. Because that doesn’t make you a person,” says Sullivan.
This article is inspired by the video interview of Joni Sullivan, Drama teacher at Springfield Renaissance School, Massachusetts. Watch the original video here.