Celebrating The Human Element From Day 1
The human element makes THE critical difference in a child’s education. Nothing can replace a caring person’s set of eyes on a student, whether it is their first day in kindergarten or their first day of their senior year.
Let me give you some examples.
- The first day for kindergarteners to ride the bus is a big day for the child and for the parents, standing, nervously, 20 feet away. After the final hug and wave to mom, a young child’s eyes fix on the bus driver’s as the child takes her first steps onto the bus. That first step for a kindergartener is a big one, both metaphorically and physically. As she makes it to the second step, firmly holding onto the handle, the driver’s face, expression and eyes will tell you everything about the human element.
- Your teacher, whether elementary or secondary, has a tremendous influence on your educational experience. We receive letters all the time from students who talk about the power of the human element. Here are three such statements from Central students:
“I am always going to remember sitting with her after the coffee house and talking. She talked to us like real people and actually cared about our feelings and who we are. She made me fell like I mattered here.”
“She was the best teacher, because she made me feel included in the class."
“I remember when she told us her story on the first day and did a cartwheel.”
- If you injured yourself on the playground - running around the kickball bases or trying to break through "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Michael right over,” the nurse would fix the raspberry on your knee and be ever so gentle, even though it still hurt.
There is much talk today about technology and its impact on public education, with good reason. When a device provides access to the sum of human knowledge, we must rethink our role in the classroom and schools across America. As we rethink our roles, however, we must not lose sight of the critical role of the human element today.
Geoff Colvin’s book, Humans Are Underrated, emphasizes the need for humans to do what we do incredibly well. As Colvin writes, and as the bus driver and Kindergarten family illustrate, “To look into someone’s eyes – that turns out to be, metaphorically and quite often literally, the key to high-value work in the coming economy.”
In an environment where people are predicting the end of jobs everywhere, the book reminds us that the most valuable people are, increasingly, relationship workers ... like the very people we mentioned above.
So Happy (New) School Year! Let’s celebrate the human element, the relationship workers who make a difference day in and day out in schools across the country.