I just got through writing an online response to a discussion question for a graduate course I am taking on the Models of Teaching and Learning. It was on developing self-concepts through orientations towards the environment. Basically, the chapter in the text explored students becoming self-actualized or exhibiting high states of growth through surveying the environment and taking advantage of what exists, or not. Part of my response included my belief in imparting to students the need to seek out, ask for, and create opportunities for themselves. In other words, I want my students to know that opportunities do not always come to you; you must create some for yourself. I have a long history of doing this. From starting a craft time a our local Children’s Museum, to my long running after school garden club, and everything in between (which includes a book club, writer’s circle, TAG Parent Support group, and more), these are opportunities created for myself as a teacher-leader and for students through interacting with my local community and environment. I want students to know, sometimes you need to ask. Do not wait for the opportunity to come to you. Ask. Question. Seek Involvement.
For me, it has been a weird cycle of events. The more one asks to participate in the local community or create opportunities for others, the more you are asked to be involved.
Students need to know they matter and I think I have shown this by creating opportunities for them. But, it doesn’t stop there. I also want students to know that they need to show initiative and create opportunities for themselves because chances are, the chance will not always come to them. Individually, students can and should create their own opportunities. In doing so, they will move toward self-actualization and a high state of growth.