Dearly beloved teachers, educators and leaders,
As you begin this new school year with the inevitable focus on development plans, OfSTED, assessment, the curriculum, new initiatives and so on, remember the most important element of your job is the people. Those little human beings in front of you in the classroom, playground or dining hall, the bigger human beings around you in the staff room, and those human beings waiting in the playground or at the school gates.
Inside each and every one of those people is a star that is aching to shine its brightest. This star represents the true essence of who we are. It is beyond labels and defies concrete description. It is more of a feeling. It is the part of you that feels joy, that wants to dance when it is excited, it is the part of you that says ‘yes!’ when given the choice to do something it loves, it is that part that grins its head off when it is happy, it is sparkle in the eyes of someone who has been seen.
The most important thing you can do in your role is to connect with that star. Connection is everything in a relationship. Before you can hope to teach, lead or persuade you must connect with, or establish a rapport with, the other person/people. It is a very simple thing to do, but may be challenging, as it will require you to put aside your judgements, ego and role. Instead, it requires you to:
- Believe in the human potential for greatness. You have to believe that everyone CAN.
- See the shiny star. You have to see beyond the labels, behaviours and outward appearance.
Once you’ve made the decision to do these two things the rest is simple.
On meeting your pupils, colleagues and parents, look them in the eye, smile and say hello. You may not even need to talk. Sometimes a look or gesture is enough to connect you.
Every human soul is seeking connection. Without it we feel lost, angry, confused or lonely. Starting school can be challenging for pupils, parents and teachers, so I urge you to take the time to connect with every one you encounter so that they feel seen. You’ll notice that as their star begins to shine, so will yours. It is the best investment you can make.
P.S. Remember to connect with your own shiny star too!