Don’t Underestimate Encouragement or the Power of a Great Question

In response to the letter I sent out to my incoming class of fifth graders, one student wrote back with the following quote that is so far, fueling her passion to be “fifth grade and fearless”:

“Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.”

-Anatole France

So true. And it can come in many forms.

For me, I rely heavily on what my husband refers to as “my emotional paycheck”.  Like most teachers, I am not in it for the money.  I am grateful for having a job, and one that I love at that.  The paycheck = great.  The feedback, encouragement, critiques – way more valuable. So to are the people who give so freely of their time to help make me a better teacher.  Recently, I have been working on a new website to showcase our PYP Exhibition: The Passion Project.  It has been a mountain of work, but totally worth it.  When I was at the bottom of the mountain, I put a few feelers out to people I have worked with – and they came through big time.  The ideas, suggestions, critiques and encouragement were all so welcomed and so valuable.

Most valuable were the really good questions. The ones that didn’t tell me what to do, but gave me something to think about and ultimately led to a better website than could have been created on my own.

So…that’s my takeaway for the coming school year.

1.Ask better questions.

I came across a book called “Ever Wonder” by Kobi Yamada.  The Ever Wonder book is filled with intriguing questions that invite powerful answers. The quality of our lives is in direct proportion to the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. If you want better answers for your life, ask better questions. Ever Wonder raises our awareness and points us toward life-enriching change. Ask Better Questions.  Love it!



2.Give encouragement freely.

If you want something more tangible than words of encouragement, you can’t go past the adorable gift left on my front steps today from a sneaky duo.  A beautiful book of encouragement and celebration.  I can see my class making these for each other next year….

2 thoughts on “Don’t Underestimate Encouragement or the Power of a Great Question”

  1. a little “yes, you can” goes a long ways if people believe! Keep helping them BELIEVE they CAN. I loved seeing these guys just do whatever it was they thought they needed to during the passion project. “Oh sure, I can do that, I’ll just … ” and they would go off and ask if they could borrow the Empire State Building ’cause they needed it for a few minutes to finish their project. Keep it up.

    1. Love it – and totally agree. I think this year’s class will have the advantage of me being clearer in my own mind about how I want to be in my role. With great questions and positive encouragement, everything is possible!

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