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edu180atl: maryellen berry 8.23.12

In the midst of morning carpool duty, I saw Savannah’s backpack. The Olympic pins and the bright colored handles of this Fifth Grader’s bag drew my attention. As I stopped to admire it, I noticed that she had cleverly added multi-colored duct tape to give this ordinary black bag some pizzazz. I walked away and mused, “Isn’t it interesting how important it is to kids to make a bookbag their own.”  Throughout the day, this thought kept resurfacing as I witnessed other ways that children and adults sought to personalize their world.

Each and every school day, learners enter classrooms, and, like snowflakes, no two are just alike. They come with strengths, talents, and passions, along with areas in which they need growth, stretching, and support. In all of their differences, the students share one similarity – they seek to be known and to be appreciated for who they are. For teachers, the process of planning lessons and activities can easily miss the most important component – the person in the classroom.

Imagine the difference for our students if we took a bit more time to personalize what we do best for the people in our care. In some cases it can be as trivial as asking about a cleverly decorated bookbag or as crucial as inquiring about a sick relative. I will keep looking for ways to personalize what I do for my faculty, the parents, and for the children in my care.  After all, they want it and deserve it.

Maryellen Berry (@fastwalker10 ) has a passion for teaching, learning, and performing. As an elementary administrator, she can do all three. 

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stephen Kennedy #

    I am so impressed with the thoughtful insight here! Every single thing in the soul of the universe is “personal” in some way. And you remind us to make learning personalized as well. WONDERFUL!

    August 23, 2012
  2. Can’t wait to see your office chair personalized similar to the photo! For some reason “person” shouted out to me as I read your thoughts; the word personalize is used so often that we can, unfortunately, allow it to become generic and lose its richness. Thank you.

    August 23, 2012
  3. Linda Nichols #

    I love this– really, really love it. Thank you for noticing it, and then writing about it; for helping others look for it. You are always kind and thoughtful and give even the little things meaning and purpose. This is what makes you a great mom and wonderful administrator.

    August 23, 2012
  4. I am constantly impressed by the faculty and administrators at your school. You just gave me another example of why, and another tool in my workbag as a department chair and teacher. Thank you.

    August 23, 2012
  5. Mary Davenport #

    Maryellen – you do truly “personalize” each child. Having 2 boys, alike but different, you were incredible identifying each ones strengths. Thank you for being such an influence on both my boys and our family – your smile everyday was “personal” and genuine. Thank you!

    August 23, 2012
  6. Dee Aitch #

    I *think* that the sneakers may have been intended to fall into the same category …. 🙂

    August 24, 2012
  7. Angel Kytle #

    Powerful writing as usual, Maryellen! You inspire us all to reflect on our thoughts and actions with children. Here’s to a wonderful school year– I miss working side by side with you!

    August 26, 2012

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