A Little Gold StarLittle Gold Star

How many of you parents remember the work you would do for one of those little foil stars?  I can remember practicing a song on piano over and over in hopes that it would gain me that tiny little seal of confidence.  And when I did earn one, the next week I’d practice twice as hard because I knew I could earn one and had to prove myself once again.  
What was it about that star that made me work?  It certainly wasn’t it’s monetary value or glamour.  It was the pride that came with knowing I could do something.  Every other week I accomplished my songs, but that week, I was a star!  

Do you know the role your positive words play in your students’, friends’, coworkers’, spouse’s, tutor’s lives?  Your role is huge in your child’s education, even if you never look at a piece of homework.  Encouraging them to score their best, without berating them over less than stellar grades can make all the difference in the world.  I would never be where I am today without my mom telling me how proud she was of my grades, piano playing, crafting, etc.  Now I was never good at cleaning my room, so she chose not to focus on that flaw, as she knew I could make it to adulthood with clothes on the floor, but I couldn’t without my education.
As MaThCliX test prep coordinator I spend quite a bit of time encouraging students to use their own abilities.  I find so many of the skills a student needs to excel on the ACT and SAT are within them, they just don’t trust their instincts and chances are, someone along the way chose to point out all of their mistakes and not their strengths.  I am not at all saying students do not need to know their mistakes or to work on where they struggle (that’s why we’re here!), but the approach is key.  A conversation started with confirmation of what is done right, is going to be received a whole lot better than one that begins with everything someone fails.  I see students with the same abilities and different confidence levels score drastically different.  
I want to close with some tangible ways you can encourage your children, coworkers, peers:
1. Commend good behavior
2. Spend more time with praise than discouragement
3. Work on things like vocabulary together as a family, make it fun, a joke even and laugh together when you use it!
4. Talk about areas of weakness as how you can improve, rather than focusing on it being a poor area
5. Don’t use powerschool only to ground your child, but also as a bragging point
6. Ask your child’s tutor what they did well, so you can discuss
7. Keep in mind, we all have different skills and abilities.  If one child isn’t doing what another did, encourage them to do THEIR best and do not compare to others!