“Don’t judge a book by its cover” the old saying goes.
I might also add, “Don’t judge a book by a cursory glance.”
I flipped through “Leave a Mark!: 8 ways to help your students become their best selves” by father/daughter co-authors Rufus Stephens and Connie Johnson and thought (mistakenly) that this was simply a motivational book on how to help people feel visible, listened to, empowered, cared for, accepted, safe and how to hold them accountable - peppered with real-life examples.
Now, that is true. But that’s not where the book shines.
First, here is the book’s Amazon description: “Educators impact lives daily, mold thoughts, and unlock talents in children. Here are eight ways you as a teacher, school counselor, or parent can leave positive, productive “marks”—often remembered for a lifetime—on your students and children. Impacts like the warmth of visibility and the power of safety help children strive and thrive. Teaching accountability and how to listen can empower children. Demonstrating belonging and caring can teach children to do the same.
“Personal and classroom experiences shared by the authors encourage, remind, and recognize the influence teachers have with their students and demonstrate both good “marks” and not-so-good “marks.” Reflection questions at the end of each chapter help you prepare to leave your own good marks!”
“Leave a Mark” doesn’t say much that is new, in terms of new insight or revelation where teaching or working with people is concerned. But it’s how the reader answers those questions, and then applies the answers to real situations, that will ultimately make the difference.
Here are a few examples:
1) How will you remain aware of the potential to leave painful marks?
2) What tool could you use to remind yourself of the importance of student visibility?
3) To appreciate the effect of empowerment, what has empowerment meant to you in your life?
4) Is caring something that is easily seen by your students?
5) Where do you most experience “belonging” as discussed in this chapter?
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