Category Archives: Confidence

Dylan…More Precious Than Gold


You ask any teacher why they became a teacher and the responses may vary from “I like kids”, I want to make a difference”, “I love helping students learn” and so on. Some even add all of the above to their reasons. For me it goes one step further. Teaching a person is a privilege. A gift that has been entrusted to me.

For many people teaching is what they can give students alone. For me, its is also what my students can enrich me with. Each and every child has something to share. Some naturally “fit into the norms and expectations”. Others, take longer to fit in. Some appear to never fit in. But all that tells me is that we haven’t looked close enough. That we haven’t allowed for enough avenues in our classrooms to let them shine.

I recently was introduced to a little 7 year old boy by the name of Dylan. Dylan is what I call “top shelf material”. Top shelf goods are the ones that were stored on the top shelf in corner store because they were so priceless and rarely found anywhere else that you needed to put them out of everyday hands reach. They weren’t found just anywhere.

Dylan is an amazing little boy. Dylan spends his days designing, modelling, researching and creating. Big words for a little boy of 7 but that is what he does. Dylan is a LEGO master builder. The photo in this post is of a boy’s creation called the “Running With The Dinosaurs” based on the running of the bulls in Spain. Yes, a 7 year olds creation! Most 7 year olds are still hearing about the words dinosaurs and bulls letting alone associating a cultural event with a LEGO making skill.

So as a teacher, I would see it as a privilege to be a part of Dylan’s world. This amazing little human being could have been anywhere on the planet. Instead, he is sharing a classroom with a teacher on a daily basis. This is where I see my role as a teacher being enriched by my students. Imagine having a 7year old artistic, problem solving little boy like Dylan in your classroom every day. Imagine the conversations you could have with him and the people he could influence. He is a creative engineer..yes, a creative engineer!

Dylan, I hope you know you are more precious than gold, a very, very special, amazing little human being! If I were your teacher and I had students like you in my classroom, I would consider myself the luckiest teacher on the planet.

Yours sincerely,



Please note that this post was written with full permission from Dylan’s mother.



Filed under Confidence, Creativity and Imagination in Education

What Are Educators Missing?

I grew up in a time where the rows of classroom seats were perfectly aligned. The step platform elevated me to a dusty blackboard. The sun drenched classroom windows were exposed to the elements. The teacher stood out the front, usually on the elevated platform so as to get a clear view of the children in the far back row. I say far because there were usually around 36 – 40 students in the class split into rows of 3-4.


This classroom is familiar to many  teachers and for some this is still the method of teaching. Very much teacher centred. But before I throw this scenario  out the window, Continue reading

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Filed under Classroom Designs, Confidence, Curriculum, Gilly Salmon, Internet, Learning Environment, Learning Spaces, Online Learning

Please Miss, Please Sir…I Just Need Some Confidence To Be Creative

Unknown-1Sitting around the staff table for many years and hearing the itenary of staff meetings coming up for the next Term used to send me in a mild “internal meltdown”.

Literacy, Numeracy, more Literacy and more Numeracy. And before any Literacy or Numeracy Co-Ordinator  mentions how important they are, I already get that..I know they are the two “big gunners” of education but my question remained, every time, can we spend a staff meeting, even just one to start with, looking at some personal development in kids?

I am a firm believer in the notion that if we give our students confidence first and foremost, then they can reach goals that no curriculum outcome has even thought about. If a student asks “Can I?” is it not our responsibility as educators  to reply “Tell me how you can…or why you can…or when you can.”

Confidence allows for creativity which allows for invention, for initiative, for expression, for explanation, for so many wonderful, ideal qualities.

Confidence allows for celebrating success and accepting failure.

Confidence allows for self directed learning and capability of assessment and evaluation of one’s learning.

Confidence allows for ability to teach as much as it does to learn.

When a parent came to me with concerns about their child who was in any grade, my first educator’s words of advise was “Don’t kill their confidence and please don’t focus purely on what they can’t achieve according to school expectations”. One student stood out for me in my teaching life, as he was struggling from Day 1 in his school life with diagnosed learning difficulties. Limited reading and poor communication was this mother’s anguish. I asked the mother to simply accept that building his confidence and allowing him to find his “niche” is the answer. Allowing him to try things and accept “failure” as opposed to making him fit in the “classroom square”. Allow him to be creative.

This child simply needed to know he had the right and capability to speak up and try things out, success or failure was measured in the trying. His mother came back to my classroom six years later and knocked on the door and said, ” He had found his niche. He had studied landscaping and just received a state government contract for landscaping the Railway Stations.” This confidence had unleashed a landscaping creative entrepreneur!

I am as human as the next student, and realise that if I have no support system around me when I try things out in my learning, then I am reluctant to want to continue to learn. When the feedback is positive, supportive, constructive, freeing, then I will take just that one step further.

If every child on this planet was allowed to be confident; if every child was given permission to be confident; if every child was taught to be confident; my goodness, imagine the creative world we would live in then!

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