To listen with an open mind and uncritical eye is an art. One of the greatest opportunities in my job as an educator is the chance to listen to students, staff, leadership, and families.
When listening to a Kindergartner who is having trouble I must get physically eye-to-eye with them and speak gently. They will not want to look me in the eye but hang their head. It is my duty to give them the space and chance to express themselves in words and sometimes body language. If I listen with my heart and patience I can learn how I can help them. As a side note I also learn some priceless life lessons.
When listening to a staff member who is angry, negative or confused I must put aside my own concerns or problems and listen to them. It is in this listening that valuable solutions are born. Each voice is important and often the way out comes from the one lone voice that seems utterly impossible.
When listening to families I must put aside society’s opinions of the outcast, the homeless, the alcoholic Mother, or incarcerated Father, as these ideas will deprive me a helpful idea. I can learn so much from those that have been through so much.