When educating our children, we constantly make choices — what to teach, how to teach it, how to respond to questions, and the list goes on and on. But we rarely give enough thought to what isguiding these choices.

Over the years, I have learned that each choice boils down to a simple and profound question: What do you value?

Most have us have not been encouraged to sit down to consider what we value in life (much less, education). This is NOT your fault. Unfortunately, the concept of values is rarely discussed in detail beyond “be a good person.” Yet understanding what we value in life is the first step in making decisions that are going to do us, and our world, the most good. Conscious connection with our values is what inspires us to be as good as we can.

Early in my education career, I was bouncing from issue to issue, constantly putting out fires and rarely feeling effective at my job. I was a stressed out and reactive educator. I did not feel like the choices I made mattered. I needed a plan, but I had no idea where to start. Unsurprisingly, all of this stress caused me to become super sick. I spent the week before and during my December break in bed. It was awful. Something had to give.

It wasn’t until I sat down and got real about what I value in education that I was able to start feeling my worth as an educator. And once I felt my worth, I was able to make a plan to educate in the way that felt important to me. Finally, I was connected to what I valued in education.

This is the secret first step to advocating for your child in the classroom and becoming a better educator. Your values act as a compass for the choices you make.

How do we decide what we value in education? A value is an abstract idea related to what we think is important in life and how we want to feel with regard to a specific situation, in this case, education.

Here are two great questions to ask yourself when determining what you value in education. I’ve added my personal answers below each question to prime your creative pump as you answer the questions for yourself.

How do you want to feel about how your child is educated? Or, how do you want to feel about how you’re educating your student?

I want to feel curious, relaxed, effective, and joyful in my classroom. I want to know what my students are thinking and feeling as we discover new ideas and begin projects. When I’m relaxed, I make better more effective choices and respond to challenges gently. When I feel this way, I can easily find the joy in my work.

What is important to you about education? Why?

Creativity, kindness, and confidence are the values that are most important to me in the classroom. When students are encouraged to be creative, they can “learn how they learn”. That knowledge can then be applied to any challenge they are hoping to overcome. Additionally, when the atmosphere of a classroom is kind, children feel safe to stretch their knowledge and express themselves with confidence in all areas of their life.

Now it’s your turn. Try this out for yourself! I’ve created a lovely printable to use as your guide as you determine what you value most in education. Fill out the form below and It will be sent directly to your inbox! Let me know when you’ve finished! Leave me a comment on this post or head to my facebook page and post there! I can’t wait to learn more about you and your thoughts about education.  

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