If you are more of the lip-synching, can’t keep a beat type person (like me), then you know how wonderful it is to have a student who is musically talented. Oh, how I love to have them lead the ABCs or Happy Birthday. Everyone has unique talents, and we can strengthen any skills through practice and perseverance. Kids need to understand their strengths and appreciate the hard work people put in to enjoy high levels of talent. Some of these strengths and intelligences are cultivated in school and some are not. Check out this beautiful infographic of Howard Gardner’s 9 types of intelligence by artist Diana Ziv.
Teaching tolerance and acceptance of others is a must for every educator. Start by modeling your appreciation of other’s abilities, explain your own skills as a series of steps (as opposed to natural talent), and allow others to explain themselves rather than assume their background and motives.
Sometimes behavior you think is “naughty” may be totally acceptable from another perspective. Think of a woman in labor speeding to the hospital. (Yes, I know she should not be driving, but you get the point.) One of my favorite examples comes from a first grader who stood near me refusing to talk. I could not understand why she was being so seemingly oppositional until she wrote me a note that stated, “I haf to thro up.” Then the light bulb of acceptance turned on!