We can change our self esteem

Tomorrow morning I walk into a sea of new faces all expectant on their new journey and all new to the Health studies course on which they now embark.girlwithhandsinair
Some of these new students will pass with Distinctions and some will just pass.
What dictates which grade they will achieve stands on how they learn to not only produce the coursework but also develop in their self esteem of who they are.

All of them come to me with preconceived ideas of who they are and what they are capable of achieving.

I teach a unit called Personal and Professional development as well as the Anatomy and one of my first lessons in this unit is a discussion of how teenagers struggle with their self -esteem. I use the story about a comment I heard in class one day where one student says to another…….

“I Am Dumb – I Have Always Been Dumb”
As I heard this comment I took the opportunity to stop them in their tracks and ask who had made the comment. When the student identified herself it gave me the ideal opportunity to highlight the fact that all of us have a mental picture of who we are, how we look, what we’re good at, and what our weaknesses might be.
At this period of time this female student had a low mental image of her academic abilities.
Her mental picture of herself had been formed over time, as she moved through Junior school and Senior school to where this young adult was right now… close to embarking out in her new career.
This mental picture of who we are is called our self-image and it is based on interactions we have with other people and our life experiences.
Our Self-esteem is not only about how much we feel valued, how we feel loved and accepted, by others – but also how much we value, love, and accept ourselves.

This is an aspect that young adults struggle with. It is a stage in their lives when they are trying to work out who they are and what is their purpose and consequently many  struggle with their self esteem.
I often marvel at their surprise  when I tell them that it is very common at their age to be selfish.
“Its just where you are at right now… so to speak”
“At this time in your life everything is all about you”
Their lives are focused on themselves and it is alright to be like that for now.
It is amazing the effect it has when I tell them this. I also tell them that I know nothing about their past. I know nothing about the exams they have failed or where they have gone wrong if they have.
All I know of them is what I see in front of me now.
If they want to achieve top marks then that is what I see and what I see is what I believe in.
I remind them that everyone’s self-image changes over time, self-esteem is not fixed for life. So if you feel that your self-esteem isn’t all it could be, you can improve it. I also remind them that in our class……
“NO ONE IS DUMB”… not even the teacher!

take care

Kathy

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