You’re really a good girl, you know”

(taken from Totto-chan, The Girl at the Window)

It took me quite some time to write this reflection because I was looking for a perfect book to describe week 3 reflections. The week 3 topic reminds me of a book “Totto-chan, The Little Girl at the Window”. Since Totto-can entered the school, Tomoe Gakuen, the headmaster, Mr. Kobayshi, always says that phrase to Totto-chan. Totto-chan grew to believe to what Mr. Kobayashi has said. She believes that she is indeed a good girl. Totto-chan is a girl with high curiosity. Her curiosity caused her to be expelled from her previous school, before she finally went to Tomoe Gakuen.  Totto-chan or Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, is now the first Asia UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a trainer to deaf actors and also an author of ten books. She mentioned in her book, how the school through Mr. Kobayashi wisdom helped her to understand who she is. Although she made several chaos and put on her teachers’ nerves, and still Mr. Kobayshi believes she is a good girl.

As a teacher we face students with diverse characteristics. Sometimes we have trouble to deal with the students’ behavior. Thus, it makes us losing our patient and lowering our expectancies on them. We didn’t realize that we have influence on students’ belief, whether it is good or bad.

The power of belief passed me by when I taught kindergarten, 6 years ago. I had one student who was according to his previous teacher that he is reluctant to join the class activities, hardly do the worksheet and mostly cry in the classroom. He also did not like to sing or do art and craft which mostly kindergarten students like to do it. Bottom line, he is hopeless. I was a little bit annoyed to have this boy in my class. It means that I have listened to his crying every day. But my partner made me realized that every student have their own pace. Furthermore, we must not give up to our students. I did it. The boy that I’ve been telling you was able to join the classroom activities. Yes, he was still crying, but it became less and less happened. There were many things that he could do. Finally, he sang and danced in front of the crowd during the graduation day. I remembered the parents came to me and my partner to thank us. And all we did was to believe on him. Mr. Kobayashi once said to his teacher not to try and fit the children into preconceived mold. “Leave them to nature”, “Don’t cramp their ambitions. Their dreams are bigger than you”

Mima (MMSEL lecturer)