Trust. Taking a risk. They go hand in hand. A child has to trust that his parent will support him so that when they take the risk and fail, the parent will be there. A teacher builds trust with her students by showing empathy, being consistent, and letting her students know that she is there for them and then she can take a risk and try a different teaching strategy or introduce new edtech.
And then there is the time when the risk is so high that only when trust is combined with a leap of faith will you take the risk...
Today, a student from my homeroom came to me out of blue and said that he needed help. We talked for a while and came up with a plan - he would take the risk and share with his teachers what is going on. He composed an email with my help. He opened up a lot. He did give me permission to share the letter in its entirety but to protect his privacy I will share just the last two paragraphs:
I am feeling very anxious and I also feel like I am failing. I know I can do better if I got help with my work and it is hard for me to ask for help because I have the fear I will end up looking stupid and have less worth to people.
I am asking you all for help during this stressful time. I am not really sure what type of help I need and am hoping that you will know and be willing to help and work with me. I am happy to meet with each of you.
He hit the "send" button and waited... and waited...
Within 1 hour a teacher responded with, "I am sorry that you are going through this. Let's sit down tomorrow and figure out what we can do." Shortly after that, another teacher. And then another. And another. By the end of the day, EVERY single teacher that he emailed responded either with an email or by talking to him directly. When I saw him before dismissal he acknowledged this fact... with a smile on his face... one that showed that he felt a bit more relieved and that the light at the end of the tunnel could be seen. He has glad that he took the risk and had faith in his teachers that they would be there for him.
It's a great feeling to have and know that I work in a place where children can take these risks for they have faith and trust in their teachers.