I’ve had children at Halswell School for 5 years now, but I’ve only recently attended an all-school assembly. Yet another silver lining to unemployment.
Naomi had specifically invited me to this assembly because her block, Otawhito, was hosting. I arrived a couple minutes early and watched as the kids streamed through the doors and were arranged by their teachers sitting in orderly lines on the gym floor, marvelling again at the teachers’ command of their students….if I was in charge there’d be chaos and I’d be hoarse.
The main even of the assembly is the giving of performance certificates for selected students in each grade level. Each child was called out by their teacher, along with one sentence describing the behavior that merited the special recognition.
“Andrew, for being such a good friend, welcoming and including the new students into our studio”
“Zoe, for persisting in Maths even when its challenging”
“Naomi for being an excellent communicator in her reading group”
The skills the teachers were rewarding weren’t academic achievements. Instead, they were the personal qualities that will see kids through life—kindness, persistence, teamwork and communication. The students with their cue cards were also practicing an important life skill—public speaking and the self-assurance it takes to present in front of a group.
It’s interesting to think about. As an adult in the jobs market, these are the same skills that I need to demonstrate in an interview (along with technical experience related to my field, of course). Baring kindness….I suppose I haven’t run across any “behavioral competency” questions that ask about kindness yet. As an educator in the university system recently told me, we don’t actually know heaps about what information will be important for kids to know in their future jobs, let alone what knowledge will be generated after they leave the classroom. We’re mainly preparing them with skills to keep learning.
At any rate, I’m grateful that the kids’ school emphasizes, practices, and rewards qualities like persistence, communication, and teamwork, along with kindness.
Yes, when I was hiring I thought that I could not teach honesty, the ability to work hard, or the ability to interact with the customer in a kind and respectful way. I assumed I could teach some of the technical things we needed. I didn’t know when those qualities above were learned. I wonder if they are learned in elementary school age, or if we are already recognizing the people then who were either born with them, or were trained at home with them from the ages of 0-5. What do you think?
I think there’s definitely a personality piece involved, perhaps how well the person is able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes (empathize). But I think the environment (how they see humans treating other humans) that is normal for a kid growing up is big too. I’m guessing the work isn’t all done at 5, and extends into teens. Come to think of it, I’ve been working on empathy well into adulthood myself!